The August 3rd edition of the Fox News network’s Sean Hannity Show focused on the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on coal, which has led to significant coal mining job losses in Boone County and southern West Virginia.
“Crisis in Coal Country” was filmed during the 2012 West Virginia Coal Festival in Madison and included interviews with James R. Clendenen, maintenance director of Patriot Coal Corporation; State Senator Ron Stollings, who also is a local physician on Main Street; Larry V. Lodato, director of the Boone County Community and Economic Development Office; Mike Baisden of X-Press Cable in Danville, and Eddie Alford of J.H. Fletcher, a mine machinery company based in Huntington.
“If the Obama administration and the E.P.A. can let the coal industry suffer in Boone County, West Virginia, which is the gateway to the coalfields, it can happen in any community,” said Todd Starnes, Fox News reporter, who conducted the interviews. “The president promised clean coal initiatives when he ran for office, but that’s not what the people of Boone County and West Virginia got.”
Senator Stollings said the E.P.A. “changed the rules in midstream and vetoed many mining permits, leading to hundreds of coal mining layoffs in Boone County.”
“It’s (coal) as cleaning burning as you can get in America, but we’re not going to burn it in America (because of E.P.A. regulations), our coal is going to be shipped overseas,” Stollings said.
Lodato said the local economy, especially the local merchants and those on fixed incomes, are suffering the worst. He said the federal government forgets that because of coal, West Virginia is one of four states in the country that has a budget surplus.
“Our coal miners are not looking for a handout, all they want is a permit to work,” Lodato stated. “Our county’s way of life is under attack. What the government doesn’t get is that for every coal mining job there are at least six coal-related workers whose families depend directly on the mining industry.”
Clendenen said, “You just wouldn’t believe the number of coal miners who have lost their jobs in a year’s time, mainly because of E.P.A. regulations” and the coal industry is doing everything possible to adhere to the regulations and safety issues.”
The decrease in coal production has led to an increase in electric bills and many small businesses have not turned a profit in months, Lodato added.
“Coal miners are a proud people and many here in Boone County believe Obama’s broken promises, and the E.P.A. are to blame for the loss of coal mining jobs,” Starnes said.
Meanwhile, Joshua Nelson, a candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates in Boone County, went on Fox News Channel’s “The Huckabee Show” with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, to talk about the “War on Coal.”
Huckabee asked several questions to Nelson, his father, Mark Nelson (a local laid-off Union coal miner), and Vic Jarrel of Van.
Joshua Nelson told Huckabee that he went to work in the mines just like his ancestors to pay back the college debt he had accumulated while in college, and to take care of his wife Brittany, and son Elijah.
Huckabee then turned the Mark Nelson, Joshua Nelson’s Father, to ask him about job prospects.
Mark Nelson quickly responded that he had put out several job applications, but that there is “no hope” in finding a job.
Huckabee asked Vic Jarrel about his son having to move back in with him and his wife, Angela Jarrel, in which case Vic told Huckabee that his son was once full of hope and dreams, and because of all of our politicians and the “War on Coal”, that his son had now moved back home.
He then asked Joshua Nelson one last question, about our current administrations “War on Coal”, in which Nelson stated that it was a lot of people, who have false scientific facts that are killing our industry. He stated a fact that “400 miners, in one day, can dig enough coal, that would equal more electricity when converted than every single solar panel and windmill combined”.
After a lengthy applause, Nelson said “That’s a lot of electricity!”
Nelson said after the show that things needed to change from Washington, the EPA, and also in Charleston.
“A lot of people do not realize that we here in West Virginia have a cap and trade bill in place that cut our traditional coal use by 25 percent, and they also do not know that our current elected delegate is the head of the energy committee that passed that bill. That killed a lot of jobs, and it is time we change that,” Joshua Nelson said.