Friends of Coal

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Friends of Coal is a West Virginia-based political advocacy group funded by the West Virginia Coal Association, a trade organization. The group offers free membership and has asserted its reach spans 37 states, three provinces in Canada and nine other countries.[1]

Friends of Coal has been active in improving the image of the coal industry, and its activities have included hiring public relations and marketing specialists,[2] sponsoring an annual automobile fair,[3] financing the creation of a West Virginia soccer field,[4] and sponsoring both the college football Friends of Coal Bowl between West Virginia University and Marshall University as well as scholarships at both schools.[5]

Friends of Coal also funded the installation of a new basketball court at the Charleston Civic Center at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Along with the floor, the organization also reached a 10-year deal to place its logo at the center of the court. However, the move was criticized by local author Denise Giardina, an opponent of mountaintop removal mining, who believed that Friends of Coal's sponsorship was too political in nature.[6]

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