McDonnell proclaims Coal Awareness Day - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

McDonnell proclaims Coal Awareness Day

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On hand for the presentation, from left: Marsha Presley, ECC Education Coordinator; Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling; ECC Chairman Jack Richardson; Gov. Bob McDonnell; ECC Executive Director Barbara Altizer; and Ken Nemeth, Southern States Energy Board. On hand for the presentation, from left: Marsha Presley, ECC Education Coordinator; Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling; ECC Chairman Jack Richardson; Gov. Bob McDonnell; ECC Executive Director Barbara Altizer; and Ken Nemeth, Southern States Energy Board.

RICHMOND (NEWS RELEASE) - A proclamation declaring February 1 "Coal Awareness Day" in Virginia was presented to the Eastern Coal Council last week during a legislative breakfast in Richmond, Va., by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell addressed breakfast attendees, emphasizing the importance of coal to Virginia's economy and concluded his remarks by presenting a signed copy of the proclamation to ECC Chairman Jack Richardson and ECC Executive Director Barbara Altizer.

"We are pleased that the governor again called attention to the value of the coal industry to the Commonwealth of Virginia by the issuance of this proclamation," Altizer said. "He has continually recognized the value of coal in his ‘All of the Above' energy strategy and we are pleased he was able to join us for our annual Richmond breakfast."

Also speaking at the breakfast function, which was attended by a number of legislators, cabinet members and representatives of the coal industry, were Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Del. Joseph Yost. Yost has introduced a bill in the current legislative session to designate April 13 as "Coal Miner Appreciation Day."

The proclamation signed by the governor and presented to ECC notes that coal mined in Virginia and 23 other states is responsible for the generation of 45 percent of the electrical energy consumed in the United States and further that Virginia remains a viable producer of high quality, low-sulfur steam coal, metallurgical coal and coke.

In 2011, the proclamation notes, Virginia coal mining directly employed 4,970 people; and coal production was valued at more than $3.04 billion.

"Coal mining generates about $2.9 billion in economic activity in southwest Virginia and $3.7 billion in the Commonwealth as a whole, and it is important to recognize that coal mining is the economic engine of communities throughout the southwestern part of Virginia and is a significant contributor to the economy and affordable energy for all of Virginia," the proclamation reads.

It also notes the mining industry contributes heavily to area economic development and diversification both through coal mined and through direct land development; and that mining area communities enjoy the economic growth that result from new commercial, industrial, agricultural, public, residential and recreational facilities on land made available for development through coal mining.

Revenues contributed by mining companies throughout the Commonwealth to coal producing counties in Fiscal Year 2011 provided almost $43.6 million in tax revenues to those counties. Those revenues in turn were then used for basic services and to maintain infrastructure and services to the citizenry in those communities. Funds were also used to support the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

The proclamation concludes by noting federal and Virginia authorities have repeatedly found the coal mining industry to be in compliance with both Virginia and federal standards and calls the designation of February 1 as "Coal Awareness Day" to the attention of all citizens in the Commonwealth.

 

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