Hatfield previously served as President of Arch Coal's Eastern Operations, as well as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Massey Energy, which he joined in 1979.
St. Louis-based Patriot Coal is a 2007 spin-off of Peabody Energy.
Patriot filed for bankruptcy in July 2012, saying coal demand was at a 24-year low. Critics say Peabody created Patriot Coal in order to dump some eastern coal assets and cut its pension and retiree-health-care obligations for 22,000 retired miners and their dependents. Union leaders accused Peabody of setting Patriot up to fail in order to avoid paying out miners affected with black lung and other diseases. In St. Louis, where Peabody is based, a judge later approved Patriot's request to offload $1.5 billion in retiree health obligations. The company later reached an agreement with the United Mine Workers, along with Peabody, to create a $400 million benefits fund for retirees.
But before the agreement was reached, Hatfield raked in an annual salary of almost $800,000, and the company paid its executives $6.9 million in performance and retention bonuses.
On November 14, 2012 Patriot Coal agreed to stop all mountaintop removal in Central Appalachia through a joint announcement with the Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.
Hatfield made over $152,000 in federal election contributions during the 2011-12 election cycle, including $30,000 to the Romney Victory Fund. During the same time Patriot Coal spent $3.3 million lobbying Congress on mine safety and other issues.
Through his current and previous positions, Hatfield has been associated with some of the largest carbon polluters in history, including Peabody Energy (13th), Arch Coal (30th) and Massey (47th).