MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – The West Virginia Coal Association (WVCA) has partnered with the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute to sponsor a special summer program for mining professionals June 22-23 at the Marriott at Waterfront Place .
“Over the past two days we have hosted a joint conference with the West Virginia Coal Mining Institute to talk about some of the challenges facing the coal industry in this country, particularly here in West Virginia and Appalachia. “said WVCA Vice President Jason. Bostic said. “And we had a very frank and technical discussion about some of the solutions to these challenges. We seek to preserve the jobs and economic activity that coal provides to the state.
Bostic said one of the main issues facing the coal mining industry is how it will recover and fare as the pandemic subsides.
In 2020, he said, COVID-19 caused disruptions in the international market, which is very important for West Virginia coal. This is because much of what is mined in the state is exported to other countries where it is used to make electricity and steel.
Domestically, there is another major concern for the coal mining industry, Bostic said.
“We have more domestic regulatory policy challenges because there is a movement underway to decarbonize the United States at a very rapid pace, while at the same time it seeks to electrify large parts of the economy. “, did he declare. “And we wonder how you can do that without coal in the energy mix. And that would also extend to massive infrastructure spending.
West Virginia is the main supplier of metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, Bostic said. It produces 90% of the coal needed for steel in the country, so he asked how any future infrastructure is possible without the coal industry, especially West Virginia coal.
The 2-day event was well attended and Bostic said WCVA had its highest attendance ever. There were many speakers, some of whom were elected officials.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) spoke in person on the first day, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the second, and Congressman David McKinley (R-1st District) spoke virtually.
For these officials to speak out and voice their support for the coal industry, Bostic said, has been a “very huge contribution.”
“The congressional delegation and these three people and, well, the whole delegation for that matter, are very passionate about defending West Virginia and the coal miners; and the hard work that men and women do in this industry that supports not only their own families, but the entire state.
The WVCA Vice President said it was not only beneficial to have reps there, but to have so many people in the industry who were willing to share ideas or just listen to what what others had to say.
The pandemic, he said, has greatly affected the coal industry in many ways and one of them has made it impossible for industry executives and insiders to meet even in person.
“It’s great to see the people we work with in person, to change, and to have the event here in Morgantown then that all of the university’s assets could be dedicated to energy research and research on coal,” Bostic said. . “It was a good couple of days and we’re glad we came.”
Bostic said he was “very grateful” for everyone who participated and he looks forward to having more of these types of events in the future now that the pandemic is easing.
“We think this is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of this industry, especially here in West Virginia. And we’ve had a lot of great spirits here over the last two days and a lot of those people were present. And if we continue to tap into these remarkable human resources, West Virginia coal will be here for a long time. »