Through philanthropic and economic contributions, we believe we are improving the quality of life in the areas in which we operate — for the benefit of our own employees and their families as well as the broader communities in which they live and work.
Arch and its operating subsidiaries have made open communication and dialogue a high priority. We use various tools and forums to promote community engagement, including community advisory panels (CAPs). At the Leer metallurgical mine in Grafton, West Virginia, for example, the mine’s leadership team meets quarterly with a CAP comprised of 25 representatives from the area, including business leaders, educators, emergency responders, and elected officials, among others. During these meetings, the mine informs community leaders about upcoming mine developments of significance, including its future investment and development plans, and educates community leaders on the process of mining. At the same time, the meetings create opportunities for community members to ask questions, share concerns, and make suggestions about opportunities for collaboration between the mine and the local citizenry.
The success of the Leer CAP inspired the company to establish a second community advisory panel in Philippi, West Virginia, where an Arch subsidiary is in the process of building a second world-class metallurgical mine called Leer South. By engaging community members at the earliest stages of the mine’s development, the Leer South team was able to solicit valuable input about its neighbors’ needs, aspirations and concerns. Based on this feedback, the mine recently made a commitment to fund needed upgrades to Adaland Mansion, a cultural center, event site and tourism attraction located in Philippi that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the mine has conducted much-needed brush clearing and landscaping work on the mansion grounds, at the request of local officials.
Arch and its subsidiaries undertake a formal process for stakeholder engagement and consultation in advance of the opening of any new operation, and maintain that engagement on a continuing basis at existing operations. While the forum for such engagement varies from mine to mine — with the community advisory panels at our flagship Leer and Leer South operations being but two examples of our formal outreach efforts — every subsidiary operation is expected to engage frequently and continuously throughout the year with area residents, local businesses, landowners, government agencies and other officials, Tribal Nations if and as applicable, and other relevant stakeholders.
In keeping with this deep and longstanding commitment to community outreach, Arch’s subsidiaries make it a high priority to abide by both the letter and spirit of the law when it comes to the highly rigorous permitting processes that govern all mining activities in the United States. Before the development of a new mine commences or mining activities begin — as well as at key points during the mining process — Arch subsidiaries engage with multiple federal and state agencies to secure the necessary permits to conduct business. Public comment opportunities are a central component of these efforts, and Arch takes its obligations to community engagement and outreach seriously. Our goal is to be as responsive as possible to community concerns, and to work with neighbors and community leaders to address and allay such concerns to the fullest extent possible.
Exemplifying this commitment to public involvement, the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2020 honored the Leer South mine with the Good Neighbor Award — the nation’s highest honor for community engagement and outreach — for its ongoing work engaging with community leaders and advancing critical infrastructure projects. Notably, the Leer mine was the sole recipient of the Good Neighbor Award in 2019 for its work in actively engaging the community and incorporating public involvement and input into its mine planning and operations. In total, Arch’s subsidiary operations have won the Good Neighbor Award five times in the past 10 years.
As another example of Leer’s strong commitment to serving community interests, the mine has invested nearly $1 million of incremental capital to outfit its mine ventilation fans with the most advanced noise-dampening technologies. As a result of this incremental investment, the new ventilation fans are roughly 1/20th as loud as typical mine ventilation fans.
The Leer South mine recently engaged with the City of Philippi and the federal Economic Development Authority to help fund a $2 million, three-mile sewer line extension that will serve the needs of the mine while facilitating the extension of city sewer services to as many as 150 additional homes.
Similarly, the Mountain Laurel mine worked with a group of community leaders — providing both equipment and labor — to develop Rockhouse Lake, a recreational facility and natural resource located in a 127-acre park. The lake and park provide significant outdoor opportunities in Logan County, West Virginia. Employees have also donated their time and resources to continue to enhance the offerings at the lake, including making it handicap accessible. In recent years, employees have volunteered their time to work with local residents with disabilities, helping them to take advantage of the new, accessible facilities.
In another effort, the Leer mine partnered with the Taylor County Soccer Association in Knottsville, West Virginia, to provide land for the development of a nonprofit soccer complex that provides thousands of area families a place to play, exercise and practice healthy lifestyles.
Many of Arch’s subsidiaries increase their outreach during the holidays in an effort to ensure that local residents with limited means aren’t excluded from the season’s festivities. During the past five years, employees at the Leer mine — with the support of a company matching program — have contributed nearly $160,000 to buy toys, food, and essentials for local families, children, and seniors.
Arch’s subsidiaries have made education and partnering with local schools a particular emphasis, which they believe is a sound investment not only in their own future workforces, but also in the long-term health and success of their communities. Arch subsidiaries support and participate in a wide array of activities, including high school career days, Earth Day events, “read-to-me” days, field trips, science and social studies fairs, and many other efforts.
Arch subsidiaries also collaborate with — and provide support to — a broad array of conservation and outdoor organizations, which is an excellent complement to Arch’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship. For instance, Arch operations partner with the National Wild Turkey Federation to support youth hunts, fishing days, recognition events, and other activities.
Similarly, our land management subsidiary has teamed with the State of West Virginia and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in an ongoing public-private partnership to restore Wild Elk populations to their native historic range. This partnership, which has been in place for more than five years, uses reclaimed mine property in southern West Virginia because it provides high quality habitat with a very low density of human use. The program has achieved dramatic results in the reintroduction and sustainability of Wild Elk herds in ever-expanding numbers.
In addition to these activities, Arch operations sponsor and support a host of other significant causes each year, including drug abuse prevention efforts, blood drives, health-related community events such as Relay for Life, and numerous other efforts.
In total, Arch and its subsidiaries have contributed more than $2.7 million to charitable organizations and causes over the course of the past five years.
The employees of the corporation and its operating subsidiaries have a political action committee that helps amplify their collective voice on political matters of interest and concern. In addition, the organization engages and lobbies elected and public officials on issues of importance to the company, its operating subsidiaries and employees throughout those organizations.
Information on the company’s political action committee can be found here: https://www.fec.gov/data/committee/C00167668/. Information on the company’s lobbying activities can be found here: LD-2 Disclosure Form (house.gov). In addition, the company and its subsidiaries participate in a number of trade associations that engage in political outreach and advocacy, including the National Mining Association, the West Virginia Coal Association, the Wyoming Mining Association and the Colorado Mining Association. The company did not contribute to any tax-exempt groups during the just-ended, two-year election cycle that were actively involved — as part of their mission — in political outreach and engagement, with the possible exception of small, employee-directed matching contributions.