TRIADELPHIA – With one of the most productive coal mines in the state and an ongoing oil and natural gas boom, state Senate President Jeff Kessler said Marshall County is poised to become the richest county in West Virginia within the next decade.
His remarks came Thursday as part of a West Virginia coal forum at West Liberty University’s Highlands Center. The session’s theme was “The Importance of Coal Exports.”
Kessler pointed out that Marshall County – home to Consol Energy’s large McElroy and Shoemaker mines – recently became the top coal-producing county in the Mountain State. High levels of production mean good-paying jobs with benefits for residents, he noted. Kessler, D-Marshall, said 30,000 West Virginians actually work within the industry, while another 63,000 are employed in related fields.
Coal production also leads to additional tax dollars for the state and region. Kessler cited coal severance and business taxes as vital sources of revenue for state and local budgets.
Coal also accounts for 99 percent of all electricity generated in the state.
“At the end of the day, coal still keeps the lights on,” he said …