West Virginia 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins is the special guest for the next episode of The Coal Seam, the monthly television show of the West Virginia Coal Association.  Jenkins joins host Chris Hamilton for a discussion of his first 100 days in office, the ongoing efforts to help West Virginia’s coal industry fight back against the Obama EPA’s ongoing assault on coal, as well as other issues.

The Coal Seam is available via the West Virginia Library Television Network and your local public access channel.  Here is a list of the cable channels that carry The Coal Seam.

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy last Friday urging McCarthy to consider the devastating impact recent EPA regulations could have on West Virginia jobs.

Armstead was joined by legislative leaders from across the country at a White House Briefing sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Armstead asked McCarthy to consider the overreach of the EPA and pointed out that EPA’s impossible regulations have resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

“The Obama Administration needs to be reminded of the devastation that we know all too well, especially with the most recent layoffs that have resulted in thousands of West Virginians losing their jobs,” Armstead said after the meeting.

On Faith, the Environment and the Modern Industrial Society

By BILL RANEY, President
West Virginia Coal Association

Today, Pope Francis issued a call for major changes in our lifestyles and our energy consumption as part of a worldwide effort to combat climate change. Francis based his call on the duty of man to act as good stewards towards God’s creation.

I agree with the Pope that mankind has a duty to act as good stewards of this world God has entrusted to our keeping.  And, I feel many aspects of today’s modern America indicate we have, as best as we can with human frailty, been good stewards.  I would point to the fact that the modern industrial economy has created the greatest standards of living the world has ever known.  

Today, we have fewer people working in agriculture than any time in the history of the world, but more than enough food to feed the planet. We have conquered diseases, alleviated poverty from much of the world and we have increased human life spans exponentially.  There are many reasons for these improvements, but none, perhaps as vivid, as the electrification of parts of our world, which came most successfully with the continued and improved use of fossil fuels.  I am concerned the Pope does not acknowledge that and challenge all of us to improve the way we use the indigenous resources our Lord has blessed us with in this world.   

In other examples of progressive stewardship, we have some of the most verdant and healthy forests in the world, our streams and air are cleaner today than they were 50, 75 or 100 years ago.  And this is in spite of having more than six billion people on this earth.  

I absolutely agree that we all need to do everything possible to alleviate poverty and the suffering that accompanies it.  In my mind, that is doing everything we can to insure that everyone who can physically work has a job, as opposed to advocating policies that put skilled, professional coal miners out of work. 

I wish Pope Francis would have travelled to Logan, Mingo or any of our other West Virginia counties where miners have been put out of work because of the uncertainty created by polices that mandate impossible requirements that reach beyond today’s technology.  The suffering of that unemployment is vivid, stark and extremely concerning. 

As someone who has been so blessed to be a part of this country’s coal industry for many years, I have watched the hard work and pride our people put into the fulfilling our responsibility as stewards of our Earth’s resources, I can say unequivocally that our coal miners are the greatest practicing environmentalists in the world. 

I invite the Pope to come to West Virginia and take a look at the wonderful work our people are doing.  I am confident he would be impressed by both the work and by the people doing the work

The West Virginia Coal Forum, an organization representing both coal mine labor and management in the state, has called on Governor Tomblin to use his executive powers to “forestall the closures” of six in-state coal-fired power plants. 

“We respectfully encourage you to use the executive powers of your office to forestall these closures so we might consider all relevant household, economic and employment factors surrounding these industrial facilities,” wrote Chris Hamilton and Fred Tucker, co-chairmen of the Coal Forum, in their letter. “We ask that the short- and long-term net effects and the delivery of reliable and affordable household electricity also be examined.

“We have been told that little can be done at this point, or that the ‘train has left the station.’ As such, decisions made unilaterally by parent utilities cannot be reversed; however, the decision forcing these facilities into premature shutdown results from unfavorable public policy driven by political agendas which hopefully will be revisited and reversed in the future.”

Hamilton and Tucker asked that the facilities be “maintained in a state of readiness as viable alternatives are sought as opposed to their mothballing and subsequent dismantling.” 

Tuesday, June 16, Bill Raney and Sandi Davison had the honor of attending the West Virginia Scholar announcement at West Virginia Wesleyan College.  The Friends of Coal/WVCA, along with the WV Homebuilders Association, West Virginia Hospital Association, MVB Bank, Inc. and West Virginia MetroNews are all sponsors of this event. 

Ten finalists were selected out of a large group of scholars and Breaunna Haynes of Parkersburg South High School was the recipient of a four-year renewable tuition, fees and room and board scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College.  Margaret Lohmann of Bridgeport High School was First Runner-up with a $5,000 four-year renewable scholarship and Second Runner-up with a $2,500 four-year renewable scholarship was Khori Lowther of Lewis County High School.  The first and second runner-up scholarships can be added to other college scholarship programs.  These are endowed scholarships funded by the late Olive O’Dell Culpepper and C. Ross Culpepper and has been continued by the generous support of Marvin and Elaine Culpepper (all graduates of WV Wesleyan).  It was a rewarding day to see so many young, outstanding applicants and our future leaders.

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