Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friends of Coal

Yesterday I shot two or three dozen pictures of the M/V Linda Little as it passed through my area with 15 loads of coal. I assumed it had been up in the Moundsville area to pick up some coal. It could have picked it up at the mouth of the Kanawha instead, but this morning I checked and saw that it had locked through Racine downbound the evening before with 15 barges.

Anyway, I zoomed way in on one of the pictures to see what I could see and I found this "Friends of Coal" sign on the side of the boat.

People in West Virginia and Kentucky are familiar with this sign, as it's on trucks and license plates and all sorts of other things owned or operated by people who support the coal industry. Yes, Kentucky and West Virginia issue "Friends of Coal" license plates for your car if you want to buy them.

For seven years, West Virginia University and Marshall University played each other in football early in the season. Friends of Coal bought the naming rights to the game, so it was called the Friends of Coal Bowl.

Given that Crounse is headquartered in Kentucky, and given that it's one of the largest coal haulers on the inland waterways, it's no surprise that one or more of its boats would have this sign. I checked photos of other boats I shot yesterday, and none of them displayed this emblem, at least as far as I could see.

As far as I know, Crounse is the one of the few major coal haulers on the Ohio that is based in either West Virginia or Kentucky. There are also Amherst Madison, which operates smaller boats on the Kanawha and larger ones on the Ohio. I don't know if you would count the AEP River Operations boats based out of Lakin, W.Va.

But now when I see a boat pushing coal, I guess I'll have to look for this sign.

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