Areas Of Concentration
For over 100 years, Bowles Rice has been providing effective solutions to our clients in the coal industry. Our experience has earned us recognition in U.S. News & World Report's 2021 Best Law Firms, which ranks Bowles Rice nationally in Mining Law.
Counseling Coal Industry Clients in all Legal Matters, Large and Small
Our clients are coal companies, contract miners, coal lessors and land companies ranging in size from large, publicly traded corporations to small, locally owned businesses.
We have assisted our clients in both complex and simple purchase and sale transactions and related financing arrangements; due diligence related potential acquisitions or sales; preparation and negotiation of various coal related agreements, i.e. coal leases, easements, contract mining agreements, throughput and processing agreements and coal sales agreements; litigation matters involving mineral leases and contract preparation; title examinations; environmental regulation and other issues generated by the coal industry. We have acted as legal counsel in title disputes, lease violation disputes, including disputes over royalty, exploration and development and production obligations. We also are skilled in advising clients in coal contract litigation matters and litigation arising out of the sale and purchase of coal assets.
We Wrote the Book on Energy Law
For more than 40 consecutive years, a Bowles Rice lawyer served as adjunct professor to the West Virginia University College of Law, teaching “Coal, Oil and Gas Law” to hundreds of lawyers throughout our region. Tom Lane, a partner in the firm’s Charleston, West Virginia office, wrote and compiled the classroom text and supplementary materials that were used during much of that time.
Transactions, Mergers, Sales and Acquisitions
Our attorneys routinely handle purchase, sale and merger transactions for both public and private companies involving coal assets, including performance of due diligence in connection with such transactions.
We also represent clients in a broad array of other corporate transactions, including business formations and structuring transactions, reorganizations and strategic planning.
Real Estate and Title Work
Bowles Rice regularly issues certified title opinions for its coal clients that are necessary for determination or confirmation of coal and mining rights ownership, or acquisitions or financing purposes.
Our team of attorneys have completed title examinations on thousands of mineral titles and provided title opinions in matters throughout the Appalachian Basin, including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio.
Mine Safety & Health Defense
Bowles Rice has a team of lawyers with years of legal experience in the area of mine safety and health (MSHA).
We provide services to all mining operators and/or independent contractors, large and small, such as metal and non-metal and aggregate. We provide assistance at all levels of the regulatory process, both state and federal. From mine visits to pre-conference mine inspection meetings, through and including MSHA informal safety conferences to negotiations and litigation, if necessary, our team takes the “legalese” out of this complex process and lead mine operators through the regulatory process with confidence and satisfaction.
Environmental, Regulatory & Permitting
Our attorneys are experienced in the complex laws and regulations relating to energy projects, including scientific, political, social and economic factors involved with both surface- and deep mining. Bowles Rice environmental attorneys have been involved with a variety of mining-related environmental issues, including the underground injection of slurry, as well as complex hydrogeology issues.
A large part of our environmental experience involves water pollution issues, and in particular, ground water hydrology. This experience includes such things as mining and quarrying, landfills and industrial facilities, areas that are technically complex, and require an extensive understanding of geology, hydrology and chemistry.
Labor and Employment Issues
Our attorneys are experienced in representing coal companies and their managerial employees in wrongful discharge and other employment-related claims filed against them in West Virginia courts. This experience includes defending against statutory and common law discrimination and retaliation-based claims.
Federal Black Lung Defense
Bowles Rice has defended major coal companies in Federal Black Lung litigation for 30 years and we are committed to providing the most efficient and aggressive defense possible.
Our firm has litigated these cases before the District Director, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Benefits Review Board, and the Circuit Court of Appeals. Cases have been litigated throughout the United States, including West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and others.
To read more about our Federal Black Lung practice, click here.
The Bowles Rice Coal Team also includes lawyers with skill and experience in other areas important to our clients in the coal industry, including litigation, taxation, government relations, real estate, labor and employment, employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA.
Articles & Alerts
- "Special Tax Treatment of the Coal Industry," by Michael E. Caryl11 Eastern Mineral L. Inst. P. 6-1, Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., 1990