CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An uptick in the state business index can be attributed mostly to the state’s coal industry, and the West Virginia Coal is thanking state lawmakers for helping the industry survive recent years of austerity.

According to a recent report by West Virginia University, the Mountain State Business Index jumped 0.3 percent in August, marking the index's 11th month-to-month gain over the past 13 months. Coal production accounted for the majority of the 0.3 percent increase in the MSBI, thanks to a 3.9 percent jump in output from the previous month.

“Thanks to the West Virginia Legislature, which has passed each component of the Coal Jobs and Safety Act over the past few years, our industry has been able to weather the regulatory storm that came out of Washington for eight years,” said Coal Association President Bill Raney. “Now that we have a more favorable attitude towards the coal industry at the federal level, we have renewed confidence that West Virginia’s coalfields will continue to play a major role in the state’s economic growth.”

By Chris Hamilton
Co-chairman, West Virginia Coal Forum
Senior Vice President, West Virginia Coal Association

Morgantown City Council is starting down a dangerous path.

In late June, the Council began consideration of a resolution to have the city of Morgantown support the Paris Climate Accord’s overall emissions reduction goals.

This action flies in the face of what is best for West Virginia and the nation. Let’s remember that President Donald Trump officially paused American compliance with the Accord while he renegotiates better terms for our country.

If the resolution ultimately passes, Morgantown will join other cities that have taken independent action on climate change via the Paris Accord regardless of the economic consequences.

Fresh off a busy weekend, a dedicated group of ladies gather to sort and unpack items at the Friends of Coal headquarters in Mabscott.

“We set up a booth where we sold our wares,” Judy Bays, director of public relations for the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary explains.

An assortment of items such as shirts, license plates, stickers, umbrellas, blankets and ponchos — all branded with the FOC logo — are available for purchase at a variety of events and festivals. 

The biggest sellers at their most recent show, the annual Friends of Coal Auto Fair, Bays says, were cooling towels.

More than 400 cars ranging from muscle cars to customs from all years were registered for the Friends of Coal Auto Fair's 13th annual event.

The event took place at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beckley — the second year the event has been at this location.

JULY 14-15, 2017
Raleigh County Memorial Airport | Beckley, West Virginia

Fourteen years ago, members of the mining industry, local businessmen, and car enthusiasts came together with a plan to hold a fundraiser to help support the maintenance and operation of the just completed YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex, which was built on several acres of land sitting on a former mine refuse site in Beckley, West Virginia.  The end product became the Friends of Coal Auto Fair - an event that not only met the initial goal of supporting this state-of-the-art facility, but one that has grown to support the local economy and the community of southern West Virginia.

Due to improvements at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex the Auto Fair was postponed for one year and resumed in 2016 at a new location, the Raleigh County Memorial Airport.  Thousands of people from all over the country gathered the third weekend in July of last year to take part in the car show, live music, special performances, helicopter rides and festival food - all for the common cause of giving back to the community of Southern WV.  In order to continue to make this event an incredible success and the cause a reality, we need your support.  

Our community’s kindness and generosity, particularly from the coal mining community, over the years has had a very profound effect on the event and in our southern coalfields.  Coal, and Coal Mining Community support, forms the lifeblood of this event, as coal is the lifeblood of the economies in Southern WV.  Three wonderful and local charities (Hospice of Southern WV, the Humane Society of Raleigh County, and the Women’s Resource Center) are the new beneficiaries of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair.  Just like the coal industry, these organizations help make Southern West Virginia the special place that it is.  Donors will be recognized on the Friends of Coal Auto Fair website, at the event, and in the hearts of those that your donation will help.  Any and all amounts of donations will be gladly and gratefully accepted.  Any donation to the event is tax deductible.  

If you have any questions about the Friends of Coal Auto Fair or would like to talk more about the three wonderful organizations this event supports, and how you can make a difference, please do not hesitate to contact Josh Jones.  He can be reached by phone, 304-255-6404, or by e-mail, at

I attended the kickoff media event for the Friends of Coal Auto Fair and am personally very excited about the new venue, the entertainment and activities that they have lined up, along with the great organizations this event is supporting.  Please visit the Friends of Coal Auto Fair website or visit them on Facebook.  Your support is needed for this event because you are giving back to the community that many work and live in and benefit from the organizations the event is supporting.


Bill Raney
West Virginia Coal Association