Nation’s Largest Coal Associations Merge
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ The nation’s two largest coal associations announced Monday that they will merge into a single lobbying organization that ″will represent the full spectrum of coal producers″ nationwide.
The merger, which will take effect on April 1, was approved Monday by the board of directors of the National Coal Association, while the board of the Mining and Reclamation Council of America took similar action on March 3. The organization will continue to be known as the National Coal Association, according to NCA spokesman John Grasser.
The merger will bring together more than 300 of the nation’s leading coal producers and companies engaged in related businesses, Grasser said. The NCA, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, has traditionally represented the nation’s major coal producers.
MARC was formed 10 years ago, at the time the 1977 federal Surface Mining Act was passed, to represent small and medium-size independent producers, especially those engaged in strip mining.
″I see this merger not as an end of MARC, but as the beginning of an even more effective voice for coal,″ said MARC Chairman Dwight Keating, who is vice-president of Five-J Energy Co. of Clarksburg, W.Va.
NCA Chairman B.R. Brown, the chairman and CEO of Consolidation Coal Co., said the merger ″signals a new era for coal representation in the legislative, regulatory and political arena.″
″For the first time, coal will have a unified organization in Washington representing the full spectrum of coal producers - small, medium and large - as well as industry suppliers. Our goal is to combine the strengths of both groups to create a new organization that will aggressively pursue the interests of the entire coal industry.‴
Keating said his organization also was strongly in favor of the merger.
″Early in the negotiating process, it was clear the basic needs and objectives of MARC and NCA were virtually the same,″ he said. ″We knew that a properly structured merger could better focus and maximize coal’s overall lobbying effort without sacrificing the unique interests of the diverse constituencies involved. It was on this basis that the most acceptable merger proposal was pursued and drafted.″
According to Brown, NCA has assembled a search committee of representatives from both groups to select a new president. NCA President Carl E. Bagge had previously announced that he will retire Oct. 1. Two of the senior staff positions in the merged organization will be filled by MARC President Dan Gerkin and MARC Vice President Tom Altmeyer.