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.”

Raney said the Coal Jobs and Safety Act legislation is a compilation of various business, safety and environmental updates that have allowed West Virginia coal to compete on a more level playing field with coal from other parts of the country.

“We hope the Legislature will continue working with our industry to help us gain a competitive market advantage, and simplifying our tax structure to level the playing field will be a big part of that,” Raney said.

The Mountain State Business Index report noted a surge in coal demand during the spring compared with previous years, and they see an improved climate for exports, which should buoy coal production over the next few years. Read more at