The Senate, meanwhile, passed a resolution recognizing the importance of coal mining in the state.
"The Legislature supports the continued mining of coal in West Virginia, including surface mining by all methods recognized by state and federal law, and is prepared to cooperate with all federal agencies in an effort to resolve quickly any outstanding issues which are preventing the mining of coal and which are contributing to the loss of jobs in West Virginia," the resolution states.
It was sponsored by 31 of the 34 senators.
"It's no secret ... we are at a critical stage with the coal industry in West Virginia," said Sen. Lloyd Jackson, D-Lincoln.
Referring to the announcement this week that Arch Coal Co. will close its Dal-Tex mountaintop removal mining complex because of a federal court injunction that has halted new permits, Jackson noted that the 300 lost jobs equal the number created at the Toyota engine plant in Putnam County.
"You just erased a whole Toyota facility from the economic landscape," he said.
The resolution, Jackson said, "recognizes the fact that, if we don't deal with the issue and deal with it quickly, hundreds and hundreds of jobs, and hundreds of millions in revenue are going to be lost.
Later Wednesday, Norm Steenstra of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, said raising issues about the jobs and layoffs is a strategy by out-of-state coal companies "pitting West Virginians against each other."
He noted that while the Dal-Tex layoffs made headlines, the industry barely mentioned the layoffs of 500 underground miners in Monongalia County because of a glut of western coal on the market.
"What this industry has done is framed this as an attack on coal," said Steenstra, adding, "There's a movement across the state, not to put coal out of business, but to make coal responsible for what they take."