MOUNDSVILLE - Although optimistic, local and state elected officials believe they will have to "wait and see" what effects Murray Energy Corp.'s purchase of five Consol Energy mines will have on Marshall County.
Two of the five mines - Shoemaker and McElroy - are based in the county. According to WorkForce West Virginia, McElroy Coal Co. was the county's largest employer as of March, while Consolidation Coal Co. was the third-largest employer.
While it is too soon to evaluate the full impact of the sale, county Commissioner Brian Schambach said he doesn't foresee any issues with the transition.
Local officials do not believe workers like this one in the McElroy mine need to be concerned about job loss following the sale of five Consol Energy mines to Murray Energy Corp.
"I'm not very concerned about job loss with local employees," he said, adding that any savings from workforce cuts would not come from the elimination of mining jobs.
Additionally, Schambach said, the county has always had a great working relationship with Consol, and he doesn't foresee that ending anytime soon.
"I'm sure there will be a transition, and we will continue to work with everyone involved," he said, adding the commission could discuss the sale more in depth during today's 9:30 a.m. meeting.
Despite that transition, state delegates Dave Evans and Mike Ferro said they are cautiously optimistic no major changes will happen.
"I hope Murray continues the same professional operations that Consol did and treat each of the miners with the dignity and respect they deserve," Ferro, D-Marshall, said.
Evans, R-Marshall, said while change is inevitable, he hopes Murray and Consol's track records of safety continue.
That track record, as well as Consol's community involvement, are two important factors cited by state Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, as keys to making the transition a smooth one.
"Consol has been a good corporate citizen that has been safety minded for at least the last 40 or 50 years," he said. "Murray has that same proud, strong track record and a tradition of high production volume."
Kessler said he has "no reason to believe" anything significant will change due to the sale and he is hopeful the mines will continue to generate revenue for the county and state.
"I look forward to working with him and make this a smooth and successful transition," he said.