Among the political leaders who attended the industry rally was Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., who blasted the EPA in a prepared statement.
"They have trampled on the mine permitting process," Rahall said. "They have put out air regulations that threaten the future of coal-fired power plants. And, as we stand here today, they are in the middle of conjuring up more coal-killing regulations."
In Washington, House Republican leaders scheduled another in their series of coal-industry hearings to coincide with Tuesday's rally. The hearing, called "EPA's Regulatory Threat to Affordable, Reliable Energy: The Perspective of Coal Communities," featured speakers from coalfield communities from Pennsylvania to Colorado.
Roger Horton, a retired miner from Logan County, W.Va., told lawmakers that coal communities are seeing jobs disappear "for one primary reason -- the anti-coal policies of the Obama administration."
"The president speaks a lot about economic justice and hope and promise," Horton testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. "I would use this hearing to directly ask the president, 'Where is the justice for West Virginia and Appalachia? Where is the hope and justice for our coal-mining families?'"
Another witness at the hearing, Daniel Weiss, of the Center for American Progress, told lawmakers that a variety of factors -- mechanization, low prices of natural gas, improved efficiency and the rise of renewable energy production -- have cost coal communities a share of the energy market and jobs.
"We need to talk about the real reality, that as natural gas becomes cheaper than coal, it's the invisible hand of the free market," said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo. "Utilities are moving to natural gas because it makes economic sense."
Weiss told lawmakers that passage of limits on greenhouse gas emissions would provide the "regulatory certainty" that power companies need to make investments on new technologies such as carbon capture and storage, or CCS.
"We believe coal communities should receive federal assistance that will empower them to take advantage of growth opportunities that will enable long-term job security," Weiss said. "From our perspective, this means understanding the limitations of what the coal sector will offer in the future and providing resources to help these communities explore more attractive opportunities."
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., told fellow subcommittee members that worries about jobs aren't the only concerns that coalfield residents have about coal mining. Yarmuth cited studies that show living near mountaintop removal mining puts residents at great risk of serious health problems.
"We must also consider the impact on the communities that are downwind," said Yarmuth, who has co-sponsored legislation to require a broader study of mountaintop removal's health effects before new permits are issued.