Official, March 1, 2018 the Alabama Coal Association‘s (ACA) president George Barber has retired.
According to its website, ACA was formed in 1972 by a small number of surface mining companies who recognized the need for a unified voice to cope with the modern-day issues that impact so dramatically on the mining industry, the ACA now represents firms that produce 92% of all coal produced in the State of Alabama.
Barber has been a staunch defender of coal and of coal miners. In 2013, when environmental groups throughout Alabama accepted nearly $3,000,000 from outside interests to fight Alabama’s coal industry and those it employes Barber fought back.
He has been active nationally in supporting coal jobs and developed the Coal Jobs Counts initiative highlighting the number of men and women in Alabama directly and indirectly affected by the industry.
The Coal Association participates in a national program to host an annual Mine Rescue Contest, this year will be the 42nd such event in Alabama.
Barber took over the role of president seven years ago on an interim basis and continued to serve in that role until his decision to retire. He has also been a member of the board of directors and is a past chairman of the board.
“I enjoyed my time there and working with our member companies on the variety of issues which have confronted the industry in the past several years,” Barber said. “I am looking forward now to just sitting back at my place on the river and enjoying the peace and quiet.”
Taking over is Manufacture Alabama contract lobbyist and former Executive Director of the Jobkeeper Alliance, Patrick Cagle of Montgomery, Ala.
“We are pleased to have Patrick joining the coal association as its new president,” said Walt Scheller, a member of the Alabama Coal Association Board of Directors. “The background and experience he brings related to coal issues will make him a valuable asset to the association. We wish George well in his retirement and we thank him for his steady guidance of the association during some difficult years for the industry. George has always been a true friend of coal.”
Cagle, who has worked with the association on legislative matters in the past, has more than 10 years of experience in navigating Alabama’s political landscape. As executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, a 501c(4) nonprofit whose mission is to protect and create quality jobs, he previously worked hand-in-hand with the coal industry to oppose onerous, job-killing regulations.
“I think my legislative and regulatory experience has prepared me to be an effective advocate for Alabama’s coal industry,” Cagle said.
Cagle is an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Conservation Advisory Board, which assists the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with the formation of hunting and fishing regulations.
“One of my goals as the new president of the Alabama Coal Association is to ensure that elected officials, community leaders and the general public have a greater understanding of the Alabama coal industry and its benefits to our communities and our state,” Cagle added. “Not only is Alabama coal a valuable resource in terms of energy production, but its use in steel making and as an export commodity make it of further value in helping to offset trade imbalances at the national level.”