LOGAN, W.Va. — Senator Shelley Moore Capito led a field hearing of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee at the Chief Logan State Park Lodge October 5.
Capito was joined by fellow members of the West Virginia congressional delegation senator Joe Manchin and congressman Evan Jenkins.
The hearing focused on the economic impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of the coal industry since 2008.
Capito noted, “The litany of anti-coal regulations put forward by this administration doesn’t just impact coal companies. It impacts every vendor in the supply chain, every coal miner and their family, and every community where fewer incomes mean fewer sales and less revenue.”
Manchin noted, “Since 2008, West Virginia has lost 13,000 coal jobs. The Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) reports that, in 2008, there were 2,129 coal mines and prep plants. In 2015, that number was 1,459. That’s a loss of 670. Countless companies have declared bankruptcy. And, “Workforce West Virginia” reports that between July 2015 and July 2016, W.Va. lost 4,800 mining and logging jobs, 700 manufacturing jobs, and 1,700 in trade, transportation and utility jobs. The ripple effect of the near total loss of our state’s biggest energy industry is affecting the daily quality of West Virginian lives — whether it be fewer and fewer grocery stores, childcare options or health care services.”
A diverse panel of five people representing local government, miners and the coal industry as well as green industry and sustainable development where invited to go on the record at the meeting.
Counsel for the United Mine Workers of America Eugene Trisko, Wayne County Commissioner Robert Pasley, local miner Bo Copley, West Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods program director Karen Ireland and director of the West Virginia University College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development James Van Nostrand attended the meeting.
Members of the panel explained how EPA regulations affect businesses, lives and economic development in the mountain state.
A rally organized by Friends of Coal and other coal friendly interest groups was also held before the meeting.
At the rally, Jenkins explained, “This is about our future. It’s about talking about the impact of the war on coal. I applaud Senator Capito to use her influence…in Washington to bring the subcommittee staff and leadership here. I have taken coal miners to Washington but this is bringing key decision makers in Washington to the coalfields.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6959 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]