Coal

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

A second man has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 15 years in the fatal shooting of a coal executive at a West Virginia cemetery.

News outlets report Mingo Circuit Judge Miki Thompson handed down the sentence Thursday for 20-year-old Brandon Lee Fitzpatrick, of Louisa, Kentucky. Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty last month in the killing of Bennett K. Hatfield, who was shot while visiting his wife's gravesite in May 2016.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A former coal company CEO who served a one-year prison term on charges related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades is kicking off his U.S. Senate campaign with a town hall meeting for voters.

Ex-Massey Energy boss Don Blankenship is scheduled to attend the meeting Thursday night at the Chief Logan Lodge, Hotel and Conference Center in Logan. Blankenship has said he wants to tell voters why he's the best candidate. A news conference is planned afterward.

January 12, 1880: W.Va. National Guard Puts Down the First Coal Strike

Jan 12, 2018
Photo of coal miners in West Virginia, 1908
Wikimedia commons

On January 12, 1880, West Virginia National Guard troops arrived at Hawks Nest in Fayette County to put down one of the state’s first coal strikes. The strike started at Montgomery when coal operators told their union miners that nonunion competition from the nearby Hawks Nest mines was hurting business.

U.S. coal mines recorded 15 workplace deaths in 2017 only a year after they hit a record low, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data released on Tuesday.

In 2016, just nine deaths occurred in U.S. coal mines.

West Virginia mines saw eight deaths, Kentucky had two, and one each occurred at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Credit WikiMedia Commons

The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirms a fatal incident occurred Friday, December 29, 2017 at approximately 12:57 a.m., at the Revelation Energy, LLC, Revelation S7 mine in Fayette County, West Virginia. Preliminary information indicates Thurman A. Watts of Harts, WV, died when a dozer he was operating traveled over the high wall. Mr. Watts was a dozer operator at the mine; he was 34 years old.

December 14, 1857: Coal Operator Justus Collins Born in Alabama

Dec 14, 2017
Justus Collins, e-WV
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

Coal operator Justus Collins was born in Alabama on December 14, 1857. He got his start in coal mining in the Deep South but moved north about 1887 to pursue his fortune in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

In Mercer County, Collins organized the Louisville Coal & Coke Company, one of the first mines to ship coal on the Norfolk and Western Railway. In 1893, he opened Collins Colliery at Glen Jean in Fayette County. About the same time, he started Greenbrier Coal & Coke and later opened the Whipple mine near Mount Hope.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

A trial has begun for the second of two men accused in the 2016 deadly shooting of a West Virginia coal executive.

News outlets report Monday was the first trial day for 20-year-old Brandon Lee Fitzpatrick, a Kentucky man charged with offenses including first-degree murder in the death of 59-year-old Bennett K. Hatfield.

This Feb. 15, 2017 photo shows railroad tracks along the West Virginia town of Matoaka, which once carried coal trains several times a day and at night.
Michael Virtanen / AP

A union official says a coal mine in northern West Virginia has been idled, with 260 workers losing their jobs, apparently because of adverse geological conditions and market issues.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey stood in front of the state’s capitol to rally the roughly 120 coal miners and industry boosters gathered there.

“The fight against the unlawful Clean Power Plan started in Charleston, West Virginia,” Morrisey said, noting the state’s role in a legal challenge to the Obama-era rule.

 


AllVoices.com

West Virginia mining officials say that a 28-year-old equipment operator for a coal mining company has died.

The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the incident occurred about 3 p.m. Tuesday on property owned by Blackhawk Mining in Boone County.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

The Trump administration announced Thursday it will hold a public hearing in West Virginia on its plan to nullify an Obama-era plan to limit planet-warming carbon emissions. The state is economically dependent on coal mining.

The Environmental Protection Agency will take comments on its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan in Charleston, the state capital, on Nov. 28 and 29.

Harry Schaefer, Environmental Protection Agency / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's U.S. Senators say a $1.3 million grant from the federal Office of Fossil Energy will go to the West Virginia University Research Corp. to support efforts to develop sensors that monitor corrosion in coal-fired power generation boilers.

Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

The nation’s biggest electric grid operator said a Trump administration plan to change the way electricity is priced to reward coal and nuclear power is both unworkable and potentially against the law.

PJM Interconnection, which operates the grid covering 65 million people from Illinois to Washington, D.C., submitted formal comments on the plan late Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

AllVoices.com

State and federal investigators are trying to determine what killed a 48-year-old miner found Monday at a coal mining operation in Raleigh County.

James Ray Adkins of Colcord, West Virginia, was discovered missing at approximately 7:10 a.m. at Marfork Coal Co.'s Horse Creek Eagle Deep Mine, according to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

A jury on Friday convicted the accused trigger man in the 2016 fatal shooting of a longtime coal executive in West Virginia.

According to news outlets, 22-year-old Anthony Raheem Arriaga of Ohio was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of conspiracy in the death of Bennett "Ben" Hatfield.

Benny Becker/ WMMT

Derek Akal, 22, grew up in the famed coalfields of Harlan County, Kentucky. He’s a bit over six feet tall, he’s black, and he has an athlete’s build. Neat curls of black hair rise off the top of his head, and on his chin, he keeps a closely-trimmed mustache and goatee.

I first interviewed Derek in October 2016. At that time, he said he was trying to become a Kentucky state trooper, but also making plans to move to Texas to work on an oil rig. 


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to end the Clean Power Plan is the Trump administration’s latest attempt to support the struggling coal industry. The Department of Energy is also pushing a new way to subsidize coal power. But as Glynis Board reports, a new study suggests that market forces -- not regulations -- will still make more coal power plants in the region vulnerable.

Bipartisan Bill Would Prop Up Coal Miners’ Pensions

Oct 4, 2017
Becca Schimmel

A bipartisan Congressional group from the Ohio Valley and beyond introduced a new bill to save pensions for retired union coal miners throughout the region.

 

Jack Corn/ U.S. National Archives

Coal mine owner Andrew Jordon and environmental attorney Joe Lovett grew up together in Charleston, but have taken two completely different, even adversarial, paths in life. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear “Two Tales of Coal” from the Us & Them Podcast


Reid Frazier/ The Allegheny Front

For the past few weeks, we’ve been following the story of Dave Hathaway, a laid off miner from Greene County, Pennsylvania, as part of our series The Struggle to Stay.

Late in 2016, he got a job offer for a company that was doing blasting work. It was great money, and a steady day shift. But it was in Maryland. He’d have to spend four nights a week in a hotel, leaving Ashley to take care of newborn Deacon. “We agreed I pretty much had to do it,” he said. “I didn’t have any funds coming in.”

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