American Shipper

West Virginia coal shippers decry state’s export tax

West Virginia coal shippers decry state’s export tax

   West Virginia’s coal shippers argued before the state’s Supreme Court Tuesday that a tax on coal destined for export violates the import-export clause of the U.S. Constitution, according to the Associated Press.

   The state’s coal shippers argued that the so-called “severance tax,” which is calculated at a rate of 5 percent of the sales price, makes them uncompetitive with overseas exporters, and “caused layoffs and other hardship at the main ports in neighboring Virginia and Maryland,” the AP reported.

   West Virginia’s Treasury Department rebuffed the coal industry’s arguments by saying the state, unlike the federal government, had a right to impose the tax.

   The AP reported that the initial anti-export tax lawsuit was filed by the coal industry in 2003. The companies involved in the lawsuit are Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Foundation Coal Holdings, International Coal Group, Massey Energy Co., and PinnOak Resources.

   If the state loses the lawsuit, it may have to return about $360 million in taxes to the coal companies, the AP reported.