By Chris Hamilton, senior vice president
West Virginia Coal Association
I am writing in response to a recent editorial by the Gazette asserting that coal mining in our area is in decline regardless of who is in the White House. The writer points to declines in mining employment during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush terms as evidence and then proceeds to string together a series of assertions passing them off as facts.
Here are the real facts.
Yes, the number of coal mining jobs as measured by federal statistics has fallen since the 1950s, and even since the 1980s.
· There is no substitute for coal. Replacing the world’s coal powered plants equivalent to 5,000 Hoover Dams.
· IEA says global energy demand is set to grow by 37% by 2040.
Coal production in the U.S. continued to decline this past week according to the latest report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association.
Production in the United States is down by more than 2 million tons (10%) for the week ending March 28 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 18.27 million tons compared to 20.28 million tons for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date also remained down as of March 28 coming in at 229.13 million tons compared to 237.10 million tons last year – a decline of 3.4%.
WVCA Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton will be the keynote speaker at this month’s meeting of the Kanawha Valley Mining Institute tonight, April 2, in Charleston. Hamilton will speak about the recently concluded legislative session, the changes the Legislature has undergone since the GOP takeover in the November elections, coal-focused legislation that was passed as well as other legislation the industry would like to see in the future.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will be presenting CEDAR with a Coal Education Proclamation declaring the week of April 19 – April 25, 2015 (14th Regional Coal Fair to be held at the Chief Logan Convention Center) Coal Education week in West Virginia, on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. Burch Elementary second grade class (Helen Curry teacher) will be present for the proclamation.