Calling coal “America’s most abundant and affordable energy resource,” the bipartisan group of congressmen and women note coal provides nearly 50% of America’s energy supply and generates more than 130,000 coal-mining jobs. They’ve pledged to use their new caucus to provide a voice for coal communities in Congress.

“Coal is a critical component to our nation’s energy future,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “Whether it’s on a cap-and-trade bill or on clean coal technology, this caucus will give coal-states a forum to highlight their priorities and present a unified voice.”

“As a Congress, it is vitally important that we continue to support the development of clean coal technologies,” Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said.

Members joining Altmire and Capito in forming the coal caucus include Reps. Tim Holden (D-PA), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), John Salazar (D-CO) and John Shimkus (R-IL). Together the new coalition will promote awareness of American coal along with the new technologies currently on the horizon that can help make coal use cleaner and safer. The six initial caucus members are also circulating a Dear Colleague inviting other members of Congress to join them.