Coal Association Chairman Gary White told industry officials that the group is performing a thorough review of its various public relations and advertising campaigns, and believes that coal's "favorable" ratings in West Virginia have increased 20 percentage points in the last decade.
"Some of what we are doing, at least, is working," White said.
But White said the general public still does not understand that some of EPA's regulatory moves would curtail not just mountaintop removal, but also dramatically cut back on underground mining and the ability of mine operators to get permits for coal cleaning plants and waste-disposal facilities.
"What's going on on the national level against this industry has frozen our ability to get permits," White said.
Gene Kitts, a vice president for International Coal Group, asked Capito to help the agency work against the U.S. Office of Surface Mining's proposal for rewriting its stream protection rules.
"We would really appreciate some oversight on this," Kitts said. "They're fixing a problem that doesn't really exist."
The symposium continues today.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.