By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia coal, oil and gas industry leaders sounded alarms about threats to the state’s fossil fuel industry during presentations Tuesday before state lawmakers on the Joint Standing Energy Committee during the Legislature’s interim session.
Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia Executive Director Charlie Burd, West Virginia Coal Association President Chris Hamilton and Metallurgical Coal Producers Association President Ben Beakes argued that their respective industries are vital to the state’s economy and merit the committee’s support.
Hamilton and Beakes reported that West Virginia’s coal market had rebounded after a dismal 2020 dogged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some of the toughest times that the metallurgical coal industry has ever faced was literally this quarter a year ago,” Beakes said, citing precipitous drops in domestic consumption and the average price of metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel.
But despite coal’s bounce back from last year’s harrowing economics, Hamilton decried the Biden administration’s emphasis on transitioning away from fossil fuels that are driving climate change…
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