Friends of Coal

Friends of Coal is an advocacy group that functions in several states and works closely with state coal trade organizations.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

It was founded in West Virginia by the coal industry as a countermeasure to grassroots environmental justice movements during the summer of 2002 over debates about legislation concerning weight limits on West Virginia highways for trucks carrying coal.[8]: 196 [9]: 94–96  It was brought to life after Warren Hylton, a coal operator, made a comment about how they should ask their friends for help. A marketing firm called Charles Ryan Associates helped create a backbone for the organization.[10] It subsequently broadened its efforts to improve the image of the coal industry and to link the coal industry to the economic and social self-identity of people who live near coal mines. As part of the latter effort, it sponsors local events like car shows and sports events.[9]: 96–105  Friends of Coal also strives to create jobs for upcoming generations.[11]

Friends of Coal is controversial because of their pro-coal stance.


Marshall University and West Virginia University played in a yearly football game sponsored by Friends of Coal and is known as the Friends of Coal Bowl, which has been discontinued since 2012.[12] They sponsor car shows and have a license plate available for purchase by their members.[13] They also provide academic scholarships for students who have a family member in the coal industry.[14] These sponsorships are controversial, and the universities have been criticized for "selling out" to the coal industry.[15]

Friends of Coal: Ladies AuxiliaryEdit

There is a sub-group from Friends of Coal known as Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary. It was founded in Beckley, West Virginia in 2009 by Regina Fairchild. It aims to help the coal industry, similarly to Friends of Coal, and also participates in charity work and military troop support.[16]


  1. ^ Bump, Philip (January 15, 2014). "Parched in West Virginia? Allow 'Friends of Coal' to Quench Your Thirst". The Atlantic.
  2. ^ "Sociological Stew: "Friends of Coal"". Sociological Stew. 30 September 2009.
  3. ^ Marley, Ben (August 2013). "Battle for the Mountains: Restructuring Extractive Production and the Socio-ecological Crisis in West Virginia 's Coalfields". University of Syracuse: Geography - Theses. Paper 6.
  4. ^ "Friends of Coal Virginia". Virginia Mining Association, Inc. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Friends of Coal (Kentucky) - Profile". GuideStar. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliiary". GuideStar Profile. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Friends of Coal West - Profile". GuideStar. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  8. ^ Bell, Shannon Elizabeth; York, Richard (2013). "11. Community Economic Identity: The Coal Industry and Ideology Construction in West Virginia". In King, Leslie; Auriffeille, Deborah McCarthy (eds.). Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 196ff. ISBN 9781442220775.
  9. ^ a b Bell, Shannon Elizabeth (2016). Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia. MIT Press. pp. 94–108. ISBN 9780262034340.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Who We Are - Friends of Coal". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  12. ^ "Coal Bowl has been all diamonds for WVU". 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  13. ^ "Division of Motor Vehicles". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  14. ^ "Friends of Coal Scholarships". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  15. ^ ""Friends of Coal Bowl" Sellout: Naming of a Football Game > Appalachian Voices". Appalachian Voices. 2006-07-06. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  16. ^ "About Friends of Coal Ladies". Coal | Friends of Coal Ladies' Auxiliary | United States. Retrieved 2019-04-25.

External linksEdit