A top aide to Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr has been named president of the Kentucky Coal Association.
J. Tyler White will take over the job Dec. 5, replacing Bill Bissett, who returned to his native West Virginia to head the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The coal association announced White’s appointment in a news release Monday.
White takes over as a public face of Kentucky coal at a difficult time for the industry. Production and jobs in the state’s coal industry have plunged since 2012.
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Many in the industry and the state blame that on tougher environmental rules, though analysts say a number of other factors also have played a significant role, including competition from cheap natural gas.
White said in a news release that he is honored for the chance to advocate for people who have suffered because of “overregulation and failed policy.”
“I believe that with the right policies in place, we can and we will revitalize this critical industry for our state and nation,” White said in the news release.
The coal association said White is a Kentucky native who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2004 to 2012, where among other things he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
White has been district director for Barr’s 6th District office since 2012, according to the coal association.