Manchin said he looks forward to meeting with Murray Energy officials this week "to further discuss this transition."
Rockefeller said that he had spoken with CONSOL officials about the sale, and had asked for a meeting with Murray "to discuss their plans and address our miners' concerns."
"I intend to do everything I can to make sure every step of this transition keeps the best interests of West Virginia's coal miners and their families in mind," Rockefeller said.
On Tuesday, West Virginia University issued a press release quoting two WVU professors commenting on the CONSOL-Murray transaction.
John Deskins, who heads WVU's Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said in the release that the longwall mines CONSOL had in West Virginia were producing a steady stream of income, but were mature.
"CONSOL wants to capitalize on the natural gas boom," Deskins said. "Because they are mature, it's a good time to sell the mines, get the cash and invest that into natural gas."
The WVU release also quoted Christopher Bise, a professor who holds the Robert E. Murray Chair of Mining Engineering at WVU's Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. The post was established in 2009 to honor a $1 million contribution Murray made to the university for energy research, according to an earlier WVU press release.
"It's a lot easier to buy existing mines because you already have the infrastructure in place, the entrance to the mine, etc.," Bise said in the WVU statement. "It's easier than starting from scratch. From CONSOL Energy's standpoint, they see it as an opportunity to expand their business in natural gas. From Murray Energy's standpoint, they see the reserves to ensure the company has a long-term future in the area."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.