Coal industry goes to Washington, DC to ‘Stand Up for American J - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Coal industry goes to Washington, DC to ‘Stand Up for American Jobs’

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Parkersburg man pleads guilty to Kroger robbery in Beckley

    Parkersburg man pleads guilty to Kroger robbery in Beckley

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:46 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:46:21 GMT
    A man who robbed the Kroger on Harper Road in Beckley, WV bank in March, went before a judge on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to Second Degree Robbery in front of Judge John Hutchison.
    A man who robbed the Kroger on Harper Road in Beckley, WV bank in March, went before a judge on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to Second Degree Robbery in front of Judge John Hutchison.
  • Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Beckley Police investigate shots fired on 8th Street

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:11 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:11:03 GMT
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
    A person opened fire at a home in Beckley during the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Detectives are investigating a case of shots fired along 8th Street, which is just off of Johnstown Road. The incident happened at around 2 a.m.
  • Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Deveron Patterson pleads guilty to 1st Degree Murder

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:45 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:45:11 GMT
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.
    A case that began almost a year ago lead to a guilty plea in Kanawha County court on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Deveron Patterson, 26, of Raleigh County pleaded guilty to a First Degree Murder charge in connection with the death of Kareem Hunter in Sept. 2013.

About 5,000 coal miners, energy workers, families and supporters gathered on the West Side Steps of the U.S. Capitol at 11 a.m. Oct. 29 as part of the "Stand Up for American Jobs" rally.

"We are going to Washington to show the support that exists for the people of our country's mining industry, and to put a face to the drastic job-crushing policies coming out of this administration," West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. "This administration's policies are crippling the coal industry, and so much more."

Raney said there is a growing number of Americans who have been "pushed aside by this president, creating heartbreak and misery in hundreds of thousands of homes."

Buses left West Virginia from Huntington, Danville, Beckley, Morgantown and other towns early Tuesday morning.

Workers say they don't agree with the policies of President Barack Obama's administration.

Georgene Robertson and her husband both work in the coal industry.

"They are good, honest, hard working family men. They just want to work and take care of their families. Let them work," she said.

James Milam works for Walker Machinery and is frustrated with the federal government.

"We've got a resource here that's second to none, and it's the cheapest form of energy," he said.

Tim Mclean, vice president of Walker Machinery, agrees.

"They don't get it. They don't care. I think they've written West Virginia off. I think they've written Kentucky off. I think they're written eastern coal off," he said.

Employees from Consol Energy also attended the rally, just one day after the company announced it's selling five of it's West Virginia coal mines to Ohio-based Murray Energy.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., head of the Congressional Coal Caucus, will host the event. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., all were scheduled to participate along with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Capito said coal creates jobs and coal is America, but coal mines are being threatened.

"More than 100 mines in the state of West Virginia have been closed. 3,500 miners have been laid off or furloughed," Capito said. "Make no mistake – this is a war on coal. This is a war on American jobs."

Rahall said at the rally that if the EPA won't visit West Virginia, then "we will keep bringing the fight to them."

"They have trampled on the mine permitting process," Rahall said. "They have put out air regulations that threaten the future of coal-fired power plants. 

"And, as we stand here today, they are in the middle of conjuring up more coal-killing regulations. But they won't even come to coal country to hold their hearings. They won't come down where we mine coal and burn coal and give us have a fair fight."

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also issued a statement saying, "I applaud all West Virginia men and women who traveled to Washington, D.C., today to speak up for coal and the important role it plays not only in our economy, but also in the nation's energy footprint. West Virginians must stand together to fight federal overreach in every form, and every coal producing state should be unified in messaging to our elected leaders that we will not tolerate job-killing regulations that threaten to confine us to a life of poverty."