The Coal Forum
The Coal Forum of West Virginia is a working board under the auspices of the Mine Safety & Technical Review Committee (TRC). The TRC was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 1986 with the passage of HB 2183.
On its website, the Coal Forum states that it "was established to promote the viability of the state's coal industry through facilitating public discussion of such coal related issues as the level of competitiveness and productivity of the industry, the image of the industry, miner's health and safety issues, and, identifying new markets and uses for West Virginia coal." The Coal Forum is organized under the West Virginia Mine Safety & Technical Review Committee (TRC). Membership of the Coal Forum includes coal operating personnel, miner's representatives, coal vendors and legislative leaders.
Subsidized anti-Obama events
In 2012, Coal Forum began hosting a series of events aimed at attacking President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to implement coal regulations. According to reporter Ken Ward, the events are sponsored and paid for by West Virginia taxpayers: "You see, the Coal Forum is kind of a creature of state statute. Check out W.Va. Code 22A-6-7. Generally, this is a section of law concerning state mine safety boards and technical committees related to those boards. But it includes a little bit of language that charges the State Coal Mine Safety and Technical Review Committee with this duty: 'Provide a forum for the resolution of technical issues encountered by the board, safety education and coal advocacy programs.' Over the last two years, the state Legislature (and the governor) have specifically earmarked nearly $60,000 for the 'Coal Forum.'"
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