On October 26, 2015 the Association filed extensive comments on the federal Office of Surface Mining's proposed "Stream Protection Rule".  Published for comment in July 2015, the SPR is a fundamental re-write of the federal surface mining regulations covering everything from issues related to mining-related fill construction to potential subsidence from underground mining operations. 

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also filed comments on the proposed rule.  94,328 comments were received by OSM on the proposal.  For a copy of the Association's comments on the proposed rule contact jbostic@wvcoal.com

The Association acknowledges and thanks the sponsors and the more than 200 who attended the recent Environmental Workshop in Charleston.  The wide range of topics included updates on current water quality standards, endangered species’ policies and regulations, a critical overview of the Clean Power Plan and OSM’s Stream Protection Rule as well as a discussion of the current political and legislative situation in West Virginia.  Environmental & Technical Committee Chairman John McDaniel and our own Jason Bostic, who also made presentations, said the Workshop would not have been possible without the able and professional assistance of our talented and informed presenters, which included Barry Thacker, P.E. Geo/Environmental Associates, Inc.; Jennie Henthorn, Henthorn Environmental Services; Allyn Turner, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC; Varun Shekhar and Christopher “Kip” Power of Babst Calland; Robert McLusky, Jackson Kelly PLLC; and Mike Castle, Strategic Solutions.

West Virginia 1st District Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E., will hold a Town Hall Meeting on “West Virginia’s Economy: Coal, Natural Gas and What’s Next” this Thursday, November 12, 2015 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.) in Fairmont.  Specifically, it will be convened at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center – Exhibition Hall; 1000 Galliher Drive; Fairmont, WV 26554.  To RSVP or for more information contact Libby Reasbeck, Field Representative at (304) 232-3801.

In the next two weeks, initial pre-registration information for the 2016 West Virginia Mining Symposium will be forwarded to all members and interested parties.  As usual, this 42nd Annual event will be held at the Charleston Civic Center and will feature environmental and safety workshops and a full agenda of national and state experts and leaders discussing issues and developments most pertinent to our industry, as well as the annual Environmental Achievement and Mountaineer Guardian Safety Awards.   The specific dates for the upcoming Symposium are Wednesday, January 27th – 29th.  Please be watching for this pre-registration information as we hope this will continue to be one of the largest gatherings of coal mining people in the country. 

CHARLESTON - Attached for your information is a pre-publication copy of a proposed rule that the Mine Safety and Health Administration will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow regarding the installation of proximity detection system on underground mining equipment. Also attached is a fact sheet that the agency has prepared. Comments on the rule must be submitted 90-days following publication, approximately Dec. 2, 2015.

Under the proposed rule operators of underground coal mines would be required to install proximity detection systems on mining equipment, coal hauling machines and scoops on working sections using continuous mining machines. Consistent with the proximity requirements for continuous mining machines the proposal indicates that the final rule will be phased-in over a period of 8-36 months depending upon the date of manufacture and installation of proximity technology in advance of the final rule. The proposal solicits comments on application of this rule to equipment in use off the working section. Additionally, the proposed rule is only applicable to underground coal mines however; MSHA specifically solicits comment on extending this rule to underground metal and nonmetal operations as well.