State of the State's Coal Industry

By: Todd Baucher Email
By: Todd Baucher Email

Rumors of the coal industry's demise are premature.

That Mark Twainism comes from a West Virginia industry executive.

Chris Hamilton, the executive vice-president of the West Virginia Coal Association, told the Parkersburg Rotary Club Monday

In spite of Washington's environmental policy and competition from other fuels, West Virginia's coal industry keeps thriving.

He says part of that is thanks to foreign exports.

"The actual usage of coal is going up; it's set to overcome oil as the leading energy source some time during 2014-2015," Hamilton said. "And we have an abundant supply of coal."

Hamilton says the industry is continuing to prosper with lower output: down about 40 thousand tons from a few years ago, and fewer miners.

Part of the attrition in employment, however, is due not directly to the economy, but to industry automation.

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