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Buchanan is one of the leading firms the coal industry relies upon for commercial advice. The Firm's Coal Industry Practice Group enjoys a national reputation for providing results-driven, industry-oriented legal and governmental relations services to scores of coal companies throughout the United States and abroad.
The Coal Industry Practice Group includes lawyers with specialized experience from throughout the firm — people from the corporate securities, labor, tax, administrative, environmental, litigation and government relations teams. Together, we are familar with every aspect of the coal industry, from production and preparation to supply agreements, transportation, labor and employee relations, benefits and compensation, marketing and sales, environmental compliance, mineral conveyances, corporate finance, tax, mergers and acquisitions, business agreements and government relations. We're able to analyze the commercial, technical, political and legal problems the coal industry faces and come up with solutions that work.
Coal SupplyWe've represented companies in litigation over the alleged breach of long-term coal supply agreements. Our litigators have recently scored wins of more than $200 million in litigation enforcing clients' rights under such agreements. We've also obtained court declarations for several national coal producers that uphold their companies' assertions of force majeure as a result of adverse mining conditions and other issues. On behalf of one major U.S. coal company, we landed a court declaration upholding the client's termination of a long-term coal supply agreement.
We advise clients on long-term coal supply agreements, including the negotiation and litigation of contractual coal requirements, market reopeners, renegotiation rights, and other contract and commercial issues. We also serve as arbitrators for large coal producers in actions involving force majeure claims and complex mining operational issues.
Financial InstitutionsOur group represents financial institutions in loans and other financing arrangements with members of the mining industry. We've handled credit facilities for bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite operators with reserves in Appalachia, Texas, Illinois, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas (for both surface and deep mine projects).
We're regularly involved in coal financings, including the representation of agents in syndicated financings and purchasers of notes in private placements. When representing financial institutions, we help to structure credit facilities and due diligence relating to crucial aspects of the mining industry, including bonding, supply contracts, environmental issues, permitting, federal coal leases, labor matters, coal property issues, legislative and regulatory concerns, Coal Act liabilities and retiree benefit and ERISA issues.
Public Company Transactions, Public Disclosure & Executive CompensationOur group helps guide several publicly traded companies through the complex rules of public disclosure and executive compensation. In several recent cases, we've offered advice on compensation disclosures for proxy statements and disclosures in reports filed with the SEC. We've also assisted with corporate governance, board committee charters, codes of ethics, director independence matters, stock exchange listing requirements and Sarbanes-Oxley issues.
Our group has represented national coal producers in cases about incentive compensation programs, and we've represented executives and private and public companies in the negotiation of executive employment agreements.
Labor, Employment & BenefitsWe've assisted in negotiating wage agreements that included non-traditional provisions, and we've developed handbooks, benefit plans, and summary plan descriptions for non-union employees. Our group has evaluated withdrawal liability risks and options; we've also litigated withdrawal liability assessments.
Our attorneys have litigated contribution claims asserted by the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds under both wage agreements and the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992. We've defended against UMWA organizing campaigns and unfair labor practice charges, and we've represented clients on the labor, employment, and benefits aspects of acquisitions and divestitures, including successorship issues.
EnvironmentalWe're experienced in dealing with the industry's many environmental laws and regulations, including alleged environmental violations, permitting issues, environmental litigation and due diligence for transactions. We've represented a large company in regulatory litigation regarding coal rights and conflicting oil and gas interests in a case of first impression before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board. We also helped a company handle environmental conditions and permits associated with a coke facility, and we've represented a surety company in a dispute over coal mining reclamation bonds and water quality violations. We counseled a major financial institution on coal financing projects, including due diligence regarding environmental, reclamation and bonding issues, and we represented a large coal company in regulatory litigation regarding the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's transfer of abandoned gas wells to a surface property owner.
Commercial, Corporate & Real EstateOur experience includes representing national coal producers in initial public offerings, spin-offs, agented private placements, mergers, acquisitions and sales.
We've represented producers and consumers in drafting coal supply and transportation agreements, and we've provided comprehensive real estate counsel for those in the industry—negotiating and preparing coal leases and mineral conveyances, examining mineral titles, appraising mineral rights and identifying and resolving impediments to mining.
Government RelationsOur Government Relations Group provides clients with innovative and practical solutions to legislative and regulatory issues facing the coal industry. In this capacity, we've drafted legislative and regulatory solutions to client issues, and we've advocated for our clients on Capitol Hill. We've guided coalitions of companies with common legislative and regulatory objectives, and we've responded to legislative initiatives with detailed client impact assessments.