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In his keynote address to the 37th Annual West Virginia Mining Symposium, Gov. Joe Manchin said he “delivered the message” about West Virginia coal to President Obama in a White House meeting Wednesday.

Manchin said he told the President that West Virginia coal must be part of the nation’s energy mix for at least the next 30 to 50 years while the nation and the world “transitions to the fuels of the future.”

To push aside coal today would destroy the nation’s economy and its ability to compete against countries like China and India, where the use of coal will continue unabated.

Manchin was one of 10 “coal state” governors who met with Obama to outline their concerns about the direction of the administration’s energy policies as well as recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with regard to the mining of coal in the state.
Manchin told the audience he was clear about his concerns when he met with the president and his staff.

Manchin said he told Obama that the administration’s proposed cap-and-trade system will “hinder economic recovery” and drive up costs to the average American. He said he also told the president the regulatory climate related to coal must be cleared up. He said thousands of West Virginians count on these [mining] jobs and that it is vital the industry be allowed to mine coal.

“Don’t shut us down,” he said. “Let us work with you to resolve the problems.”

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said the governor’s comments reflect the concerns many feel about the policies coming out of Washington.

“Our people work hard every day to mine coal and to do so responsibly,” Raney said. “The governor knows, as do I, that our coal miners take great pride in the job that they do. They don’t want special treatment from Washington. They don’t want a handout. They just want to be allowed to go to work, to pay the bills and put food on the table.”

 “West Virginia has been asking for clarity for over a year and has received none,” Manchin said. “Clarity doesn’t mean a pass on environmental protection.  West Virginia has never argued for the status quo, but EPA has chosen to engage at the end of a lengthy process without respect for the rules as they were understood during the process.”

Gov. Manchin said coal is the nation’s most reliable and greatest source of energy. He said technology has made coal much cleaner and environmentally friendly over the past 30 years and new technology will make it even more so.
 
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