The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing this past Tuesday on the Spruce #1 mine permit, first issued in 2007, in apparent preparation to veto the permit. The hearing was held at the Charleston Civic Center and drew approximately 900 people with nearly 100 making comments.
It is estimated that the crowd was approximately 80 percent pro-permit and 20 percent anti-permit. The same proportions were seen among those making comments.
Prior to the event the Friends of Coal and FACES co-hosted a rally to support the permit and the Appalachian coal mining industry.
The rally was attended by almost 300 people and guests included Governor Joe Manchin, Congressman Nick Rahall, President of the State Senate and Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Speaker of the House of Delegates Rick Thompson, the majority leaders from both houses and several State Senators and Delegates, 1st District Congressional Candidate Mike Oliverio, 3rd District Congressional Candidate Elliot “Spike” Maynard, representatives of the office of Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts, Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett, representatives from the Ohio Coal Association and the Virginia Mining Association, elected officials from several West Virginia and Kentucky counties, representatives of numerous chambers of commerce and trade associations throughout the West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland, numerous miners and their families, members of the Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP) and others.
The event drew news media from around the state, the nation and the world, including a television crew from ZDF or German television. Prior to the event, the Friends of Coal and FACES successfully placed earned and paid media mentions in radio, television and print throughout the region, including a 30-minute interview with WV Coal Association President Bill Raney, members of CAP and others on the WOWK-TV show “Decision Makers.”
We believe the event was a true success and provided an excellent show of support for the industry in West Virginia and across Appalachia.