News Column

Coal Miners Deserve 'Respectful Recognition'

Dec. 28, 2012

Bill Archer

In 1967, Aretha Franklin made a number one hit out of the Otis Redding song, "Respect." In 2013, Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association said that he hopes that President Barack Obama will select a new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency that has respect for coal miners in the eastern United States.

"Our hope for the coal industry is that the successor to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will have more respect for the West Virginia coal miners," Raney said Thursday afternoon. "For the past 4 years, our coal miners have had no respectful recognition for all they have done to provide Americans with the quality of life we now enjoy.

"It's a shame, the way the coal industry has been treated," Raney said. "The standard of living in this country is directly related to the work of coal miners."

Raney went on to say that much of the energy that keeps the federal government operating comes from coal.

"At this time, 40 percent of the power in the Baltimore-Washington area comes from coal mined here in West Virginia," Raney said. "We would like to have more respect from some of these hypocritical people who criticize the coal industry, but use the power we provide them with to keep their lights on and their computers running."

Jackson issued a statement on Thursday, stating her intention to leave the cabinet after the president delivers his State of the Union address. "In her statement, she quoted President Barack Obama from an address he made to EPA employees earlier in the year.

Obama told the EPA employees that they "help protect the environment not just for our children but their children," and added that they keep the nation moving toward energy independence.

"We have made historic progress on all these fronts," Obama said.

"So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference," Jackson stated.

"We've had fair criticism of her administration, I believe," Raney said.

"The courts have sure taken our side on several of the cases we have filed concerning the EPA's overreach. "They've bullied the states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the coal industry for the past four years. We only ask for respectful treatment."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., issued the following statement after learning about Jackson's announcement that she planned to leave the President's cabinet.

"There is no question that Lisa Jackson and I definitely have our differences, but we were always able to have a respectful dialogue. I wish her well in her next endeavor. I will continue to fight for a balanced energy policy for the United States -- which is exactly what we have in West Virginia -- and I look forward to working with anyone willing to help bring this commonsense West Virginia approach to the 113th Congress."

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., also issued a prepared statement reacting to Jackson's announcement. "I hope this resignation indicates that the Administration is going to moderate its position regarding the use of coal, but only time will tell," Griffith wrote.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.)

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