RUM CREEK — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) came to Logan County Tuesday, June 30, to visit with coal miners at the Zigmond Processing Prep Plant in Logan County. Manchin met with the plant’s employees where he discussed the Supreme Court’s Monday’s ruling against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
“It’s the first ray of light that we have seen… where common sense would prevail” Manchin said. “Basically, that common sense is saying ‘you must take in the effects of the economy and the devastation that you have on people’s jobs… their life… the region where they come from’… which is what we have been saying all along.”
Manchin said the United States only uses less than one eighth of the world’s consumption of coal and that the jobs and people’s lives are being affected much more by the government’s policies than what the environment enhancements might be. He added that the rules and regulations being enforced are unattainable.
“The world’s going to burn more than ever before,” Manchin said. “This gives us a ray of hope that other decisions will be looked upon as being unreasonable. If they are unattainable, they are unreasonable… You can do something unless you can prove it can be done. We can do anything at all that you show us is feasible, but when you just arbitrarily put it through there and say ‘meet this standard,’ and you have no technology to meet it and it’s never been done… that’s not reasonable.”
Manchin said agencies in the Federal government should not be making calls which basically has not been regulated.
“You can’t regulate what we didn’t legislate,” Manchin said. “I’d rather take my chances in the Senate with a debate, but you’re letting some bureaucrat in an agency make a decision that affects and destroys lives. That’s wrong.”
Manchin said there has been very little good news for the coal industry in the last five to six years.
“When you have someone speaking up, and the Supreme Court — the law of the land — has been making some decisions that has been making people very happy. That’s fine… this decision makes me very happy and this decision gives me some hope,” Manchin said.
Manchin said many people don’t realize what coal means to West Virginia or to the country.
“They turn their lights on and they come on. They turn on their air conditioners and they come on,” Manchin said. “Do you know who is affected first when you can’t afford it and it’s not reliable? The elderly and the poorest. They are the ones who suffer the most. We don’t understand what devastation is going to come when we don’t have a coal industry to supply the country in the next 30 years.
“I’m not making these figures up… these come from our own Federal government who is denying even saying that we are going to need coal to be a major supplier of energy for this country up to the year 2040. If you are going to depend on something, why don’t you work with me? Why are you working against us and making it impossible to supply what you need. Bottom line is, it’s West Virginia and it’s what we do. And we do it well.”
Logan County Commission President Danny Godby also attended the meeting at the prep plant.
“I think the ruling is a positive thing. Hopefully Senator Manchin and Congress will talk with the EPA and get some type of feedback,” Godby said. “Hopefully, down in the future, some good can come from this decision. It is a positive thing, whereas before, the EPA closed the door on about everything that they wanted to do as far as coal was concerned. This is a step in the positive direction. I’m elated: this is a step in the positive.”