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West Virginia State Rock

Bituminous Coal   Adopted: April 11, 2009
West Virginia state rock
West Virginia State Rock: Bituminous Coal
Courtesy: University of Kentucky

Adoption of the official state rock

Like other official West Virginia symbols, bituminous coal was adopted by resolution, approved by both the West Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate. House Concurrent Resolution No. 37 was approved on April 11, 2009.

The adoption of bituminous coal as West Virginia's official state rock was spearheaded by Gilbert High School student Britnee Gibson. Her efforts to promote bituminous coal as the state rock grew out of a project she did for the CEDAR Regional Coal Fair in 2007.

CEDAR (Coal Education Development and Resource of Southern West Virginia, Inc.) is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit corporation which began as a partnership between the coal industry, business community and educators. mission is to facilitate the increase of knowledge and understanding of the many benefits the coal industry provides in daily lives by providing financial resources and coal education materials to implement its study in the school curriculum.

Ms Gibson accumulated 2,500 signatures in support of the idea and, with the help of Senator Truman Chafin and Delegate Harry Keith White, she was able to introduce the idea in the West Virginia Legislature. House Concurrent Resolution No. 37, with 46 sponsors, was read before the House of Delegates for the first time on March 18, 2009.

It was approved by the House by a vote of 96-0 and approved by the Senate on April 11, 2009.

West Virginia is the nation's second largest producer of coal, behind only Wyoming. Britnee's father is a diesel mechanic and works for a coal hauling company according to a press release issued on April 21, 2009 by the West Virginia Coal Association.



(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson, and Delegates White, Eldridge, Anderson, Ashley, Barker, Boggs, Butcher, Campbell, Cann, Caputo, Carmichael, Craig, Crosier, Ennis, Evans, Fragale, Givens, Guthrie, Hutchins, Iaquinta, Klempa, Kominar, Longstreth, Mahan, Manchin, Marshall, Martin, Michael, Moore, Morgan, Moye, Perdue, Phillips, M. Poling, Reynolds, Staggers, Stephens, Stowers, Swartzmiller, Varner, Walker, Walters, Webster, Williams and Wooton)

Declaring Bituminous Coal to be the official state rock.

WHEREAS, From the very early days of European exploration of what is now West Virginia, the presence of coal was duly noted; and

WHEREAS, For example, in 1742 the first discovery of coal by an European explorer was made by John Peter Salley in the area now near Racine, West Virginia. John Peter Salley, therefore, named the nearby tributary of the Kanawha River where he observed the coal deposit as the Coal River; and

WHEREAS, In 1770 George Washington noted "a coal hill on fire" near West Columbia in current Mason County; and

WHEREAS, In 1810 the first commercial coal mine opened near Wheeling by Conrad Cotts for blacksmithing and domestic use; and

WHEREAS, The coal industry has evolved into and has been for many years an integral part of the economic and social fabric of the state; and

WHEREAS, Bituminous Coal is found naturally deposited in the vast majority of the fifty-five counties of our great state; and

WHEREAS, Whereby many of those deposits have great economic importance and also where extensive mining operations are located; and

WHEREAS, Whole communities in this state rely in large part, if not completely, on the Bituminous Coal industry for their continuing vitality; and

WHEREAS, Bituminous Coal is used as a major product in the manufacturing or steel used in the many automobiles in the country; and

WHEREAS, Bituminous Coal is used in the chemical industries and in the manufacturing of hundreds of other products, such as medicines, that enhance our quality of life; and

WHEREAS, West Virginia is the second largest Bituminous Coal producing state in the United States. For example, in 2008 there were 157,456 short tons of Bituminous Coal mined within West Virginia; and

WHEREAS, Many experts have asserted there is another five hundred years worth of commercially viable Bituminous Coal yet to be mined within West Virginia; and

WHEREAS, The Bituminous Coal industry remains essential to economic growth and progress in West Virginia and the United States; and

WHEREAS, It is fitting that a substance critical to the economic well-being of this great State of West Virginia and otherwise steeped in its history as Bituminous Coal be recognized as the official state rock of West Virginia; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That Bituminous Coal is hereby designated and declared to be the official state rock; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to Britnee Gibson, a senior, currently enrolled at Gilbert High School in Mingo County, West Virginia.


West Virginia Legislature, Bill Status, (Accessed February 9, 2010)
Coal Education Development and Resource of Southern West Virginia, Inc. Mission, (Accessed February 9, 2010)
Christian Science Monitor, West Virginia names coal as its official state rock, (Accessed February 9, 2010)
West Virginia Coal Association,
Gilbert High senior leads successful effort to name bituminous coal the official state rock, (Accessed February 9, 2010)
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

Additional Information

Coal Basics: from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official West Virginia state symbols.

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Visit the NETSTATE West Virginia State Book Store for additional West Virginia related books, including West Virginia Reference Books, History, Biographies and Cookbooks.