West Virginia Coal Association

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{{#badges: Climate change | CoalSwarm}}The West Virginia Coal Association is the trade association represtating the bulk of the states coal mining industry. On its website it states that its "purpose is to have a unified voice representing the state's coal industry as well as increase emphasis on coal as a reliable energy source to help the nation achieve energy independence."[1]

Spruce 1 Mine protests

On January 13, 2011, it was announced that the EPA had vetoed the water permit for the Spruce 1 Mine, the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. In making its decision to veto the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the 2,300-acre mine, "Final Determination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pursuant to § 404(c) of the Clean Water Act Concerning the Spruce No. 1 Mine, Logan County, West Virginia", EPA noted that it reviewed more than 50,000 public comments and held a major public hearing in West Virginia. EPA officials said their agency is “acting under the law and using the best science available to protect water quality, wildlife and Appalachian communities who rely on clean waters for drinking, fishing and swimming.”[2]

In response, Friends of Coal supported a "call to arms" rally planned by Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for Thursday, January 20th at the state capitol. According to reporter Ken Ward Jr., the WVCA had a banner supporting the "call to arms" on its website, which it later took down.[3] The rally's motto has been criticized due to the recent shooting of congressional representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Friends of Coal later removed the slogan from their website. The group played defensive when contacted by reporter Ken Ward, Jr., calling it "a figure of speech."[4]

In his campaign in fall 2010, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) made national news for firing a rifle while invoking President Obama's name in the "war on coal." While shooting the gun, Manchin said he would take "dead aim."[5]

Support for Nike Ad

In September 2010, NIKE began running an ad with a background of a massive strip-mine or mountaintop removal operation to display their Pro Combat football uniforms. Nike's campaign was marketed as a "tribute to the hardworking people of the Mountain State, as well as the fallen miners in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in April." But instead of featuring underground miners, such as those who died at the Upper Big Branch Disaster, Nike's ad featured an open strip mine with a dramatic voice over: "It's just the way things are done in West Virginia."[6]

After people objected to the ad, NIKE agreed to modify it.[6] But WVCA supported Nike, posting on their website: "The West Virginia Coal Association would like to thank NIKE and West Virginia University for their tribute to West Virginia’s coal miners. The decision to exchange the Blue and Gold of the Mountaineers for the 'Black and Gold' is a touching tribute to the hard work and sacrifice of the 50,000 men and women who make their living in West Virginia’s coal industry.[7]

“The Mountaineers are truly West Virginia’s team and much like our coal miners, they are the heart and soul of our state,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “We would like to thank the folks at NIKE and at West Virginia University for making this happen. This recognition means so much -- to our current coal miners and their families and to the generations of West Virginians who have worked and given so much of themselves to provide the resource that has made our nation great."[7]

Support for synfuels

According to the West Virginia Coal Association (WVCA), Chevron's acquisition of Gulf Oil might have been due, in part, to an extensive body of coal-to-liquids developed by Gulf Oil: "We have documented Chevron's coincident interest in Coal liquefaction technology, suggesting that such coincident interest might have been a motivating factor in their acquisition of Gulf." According to the WCA: "we submit herein further evidence of just how advanced the technology for converting Coal into liquid fuels actually is, through another United States Patent issued to Chevron, which, as with other, similar technologies we have reported, doesn't disclose how liquid hydrocarbons are made from Coal, but, instead, reveals how such Coal-derived liquids, once they are produced, can be more efficiently refined to serve as direct replacements for the products we now derive from petroleum."[8]

Examining Chevron's patent (No. 4097364), WVCA argues that the patent contains language showing the process for making "synthetic petroleum," or synfuel, relies on coal: "So, in order to make 'synthetic hydrocarbons' that are 'particularly useful as transportation fuels', out of 'compounds produced in the Fischer-Tropsch reaction', as has been described, for instance, 'in a series of four articles by J. C. Hoogendoorn and J. M. Solomon, "Sasol: World's Largest Oil-From-Coal Plant,"' which appeared, half a century ago, in 'British Chemical Engineering, May, June, July and August, 1957', all we need do is process such 'high-boiling hydrocarbons' obtained from Coal 'to lower-boiling hydrocarbons in the presence of water'."[8]

Contact Details

West Virginia Coal Association
P.O. Box 3923
Charleston, WV 25309
Website: http://www.wvcoal.com/

Articles and Resources

Related Sourcewatch Articles


  1. West Virginia Coal Association, "Who We Are", West Virginia Coal Association website, accessed February 2009.
  2. Ken Ward Jr., "Breaking news: EPA vetoes Spruce Mine permit" Coal Tattoo, Jan. 13, 2011.
  3. Ken Ward Jr., [West Virginia Coal Association "Acting Gov. Tomblin’s coal rally ‘A call to arms’?"] The Charleston Gazette, January 19, 2011.
  4. "Industry Group Portrays West Virginia Pro-Coal Rally As a 'Call to Arms'" Jess Leber, Change.org, January 19, 2010.
  5. Jeff Biggers, "Big Coal's Call to Arms? Should Feds Stop West Virginia Rally from Triggering the Next Arizona?" HuffPo, Jan. 19, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jeff Biggers, "NIKE Runs Mountaintop Removal Football Ad, Disrespects Coal Miners" HuffPo, September 1, 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "West Virginia Coal Association Thanks Nike for Recognizing the Contribution of West Virgina's Coal Miners" WVCA, accessed September 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Chevron Upgrades Coal Liquids with Water" WVCA, September 6, 2010.

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