The governor also said he expects to easily win legislative approval for his mine safety legislation, the cornerstone of which is to mandate drug testing for coal miners working in the state.
On Wednesday, coal industry lawyer Erin Magee praised the fact that Tomblin's bill would not require companies to provide drug-treatment programs for miners who develop drug problems.
That language is in keeping with Tomblin's broader policy for dealing with West Virginia's drug-abuse problems, in which the governor rejected his own task force's recommendation that the state increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol to fund additional treatment programs.
Also at Wednesday's symposium sessions, coal association Chairman Gary White said the group is considering plans for another major public relations campaign, following up on its Friends of Coal and FACES of Coal efforts.
"We have to continue to defend our industry," White said. "We have moved the needle of public opinion. The public knows the size of this industry and the contributions to our economy. What they don't know is that this is an industry that is caring and innovative."
White said that, while the industry will continue to actively oppose tougher restrictions on mountaintop removal and some federal safety initiatives, many mine operators have found plenty of ways to comply with such rules.
"We will continue to find new, innovative and, in some cases, revolutionary ways to seek permits," White said, "despite all of the challenges we face from the regulatory agencies."
The symposium wraps up Friday morning at the Charleston Civic Center.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.