WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress

TWO coal country senators in West Virginia are seeking meetings with Murray Energy following Monday’s announcement that the privately held producer will take over five Consol Energy longwall operations and other assets.
WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress WV senators to closely monitor Consol acquisition progress

Image courtesy of Consol Energy.

Donna Schmidt

Senator Joe Manchin, previously the governor of the nation’s second-largest coal producing state, said Consol had always been known as an “industry leader in mine safety” and a community-minded company as well.

“I have looked to Consol to set the gold corporate standard in mining conditions and I can only hope that Murray Energy will follow in Consol’s footsteps to put our miners first,” he said.

Manchin noted he would be meeting this week with the Ohio-based producer to further discuss the transaction, which has a $US3.5 billion value.

Senator Jay Rockefeller was a bit more critical of Murray in his comments about the deal, which includes the takeover of combined production of 28.5 million tonnes per annum.

He echoed Manchin in his hope that the company, headed by often outspoken coal magnate Robert Murray, would focus on mine safety, job security and employee benefit protections.

“I am very closely monitoring the sale … because I want to make absolutely sure that West Virginia's coal miners are treated fairly and with the total respect they deserve,” he said.

“Murray Energy must make it their priority to focus directly on the thousands of West Virginia workers and retirees impacted by this deal.”

He said he had already spoken with Consol leadership about the newly minted sale and had asked Murray to meet with him as soon as possible “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,” he said.

Murray officials, meanwhile, have not made comment beyond its statement yesterday on the sale of the assets, which include the McElroy, Shoemaker, Robinson Run, Loveridge and Blacksville No. 2 operations, as well as other holdings.

“No company has developed a better legacy with its employees, with its customers, with the financial markets, with the regulatory agencies, or with the public in general over many decades than has Consol and Consolidation Coal,” Murray said.

“Murray Energy intends to preserve this well-earned legacy.”

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year, pending customary conditions.

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