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Alpha Natural Resrouces Supports Seven Universities Forming Appalachian Energy, Environment Research Initiative

Abingdon, VA --  3/31/2011

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 31, 2011 – A consortium of major research universities has formed a new initiative to address the environmental impacts of the discovery, development, production, and use of energy resources in Appalachia. The Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES), under the direction of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech, will study both upstream and downstream issues related to the energy sector.

"The energy resources of Appalachia have long been critical to the economies of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, as well as all the other states that depend on those resources to provide energy for their citizens," said Coal Center Director Michael Karmis. "ARIES provides the means by which we can explore new frontiers so that continued development of our energy resources occurs in a safe and environmentally protective way, backed by sound science and research."

ARIES will initially focus its studies on the coal industry, conducting scientific inquiry and research, publishing findings, and disseminating research results to all stakeholders. The initiative will engage established researchers, representing an array of disciplines and expertise, from Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is a leading supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal used in the steel-making process and is a major supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries across the country. The company, through its affiliates, employs approximately 14,000 people and operates approximately 150 mines and 35 coal preparation facilities in the regions of Northern and Central Appalachia and the Powder River Basin. More information about Alpha can be found on the company's website