The coal law attorneys at Bingham Greenebaum Doll collectively have more than 150 years of experience serving coal industry clients throughout all major coal producing regions in the United States. Our attorneys have helped clients in transactions ranging from small tract coal leases to billion-dollar coal asset transfers involving international finance. We have also assisted clients in connection with complex financing transactions, equipment leasing and capital expenditures and with the capitalization, start-up and development of new coal mining operations. We have litigated coal-related cases ranging from landowner claims to landmark appellate cases affecting the entire industry.
Bingham Greenebaum Doll has offices centrally located in the coal producing regions of the Illinois Basin and Central Appalachia.
Our attorneys help clients in a wide variety of areas affecting the coal industry, including the following areas:
Sales of Coal Mines and Coal Reserves
The sale of coal mines and coal reserves are often complex, yet require quickness and agility on the part of everyone involved, especially the attorneys handling the transaction. Our firm has handled the transfer of numerous mines and mining divisions and thousands of coal reserve properties. We make sure that our clients, whether buyer or seller, have the protection they need and that the transfer occurs smoothly and promptly.
Financing Coal Assets
Bingham Greenebaum Doll represents banks and commercial credit companies in providing financing for coal assets. Coal mines are unlike any other commercial enterprise. They involve very large real estate holdings, a century of special legal precedent, commercial practices unique to the industry, and difficult environmental considerations. We help our clients understand these aspects of the coal industry and create creditor protections which are designed especially for the industry.
Bingham Greenebaum Doll has examined titles to hundreds of thousands of acres of coal reserves, protecting buyers and lenders from unnecessary risks. We take pride in performing title work promptly and with the practical knowledge necessary to make sure our title requirements are meaningful. In large reserve transfers, titles to every single tract cannot be perfected by a seller. Bingham Greenebaum Doll has the industry experience to assure a buyer by issuing a Capstone Opinion, in which we determine if title is acceptable as a whole, given the standards of the industry.
Acquiring and managing coal reserves is the heart of every coal producer. Our firm works very closely with several coal industry land departments, assisting their landmen in title searching, acquisition, curative work, and special questions. We craft coal deeds and leases for every situation and we are always available for consultation with our clients’ landmen. Some of our attorneys have worked as landmen and we understand land work very well. For small companies without land departments, we provide many of the services that traditional land departments provide, including record retention, royalty and division orders, and leasing supervision.
Coal Supply Contracts
Sale of produced coal is the objective of mining. Bingham Greenebaum Doll has experience in negotiating and preparing long-term and short-term coal supply contracts with utilities, industrial consumers, coal trading companies and other coal producers for the delivery of coal in both domestic and export coal markets. This area of coal law is heavily litigated, and great care must be taken to provide each client with the certainty and protection it needs.
SMCRA and Environmental Matters
Bingham Greenebaum Doll is experienced in assisting coal mine engineering departments in the preparation of SMCRA permit applications and in defending N.O.V.’s and other permit and environmental claims, in court and before administrative departments. We often defend blasting, subsidence, contamination and similar claims.
Coal Bed Methane Gas
Few law firms have as much experience as Bingham Greenebaum Doll in dealing with coal bed methane gas. Our attorneys’ opinions on development and production issues have assisted pioneers in methane gas recovery and have helped our coal company clients obtain revenue from an asset formerly viewed as a liability. We have handled some of the most important cases determining control of coal bed methane. We can assist coal bed methane producers in navigating the minefield of legal uncertainty.
Slurry and Secondary Recovery
Sale of recoverable coal wastes from active or closed mines involves special SMCRA, environmental, and labor considerations. Bingham Greenebaum Doll has wide experience in assisting clients in the recovery and sale of these assets.
Longwall Mining and Subsidence
Our attorneys have represented coal producers utilizing longwall mining methods in the Appalachian Basins, the Illinois Basin and the coal producing regions of Colorado and Utah. We have interpreted subsidence grants and issued opinions enabling our clients to obtain permits for longwall mining based on valid existing rights. We have participated in some of the most important litigation in the industry. We understand subsidence law and longwall regulation.
Mine Safety Health Administration
Bingham Greenebaum Doll offers a team of experienced attorneys uniquely suited to assist its clients in this highly visible and perilous area of law. Headed by a former mining engineer and underground coal miner, the team is ready to assist with administrative and criminal investigations as well as defense of enforcement actions. We work with our clients proactively, consulting on MSHA regulation compliance and critical training.
Disposal of Coal Slurry and Combustion Waste
Disposal of coal mining and processing waste is an area of increasing concern to coal operators and one in which the risks inherent in the coal operator’s decisions are great. Bingham Greenebaum Doll advises its mining clients as to their rights and responsibilities with regard to the disposal of coal slurry and coal combustion waste, whether it be in on-site surface impoundment facilities, off-site disposal facilities or by underground disposal into mine voids.