Jim Justice, West Virginia gubernatorial candidate (D), made it clear to people in McDowell County that he isn’t giving up on coal.
His corporation is bringing back several of its mines and hundreds of coal jobs. Justice announced Thursday, November 3, 2016 in downtown Welch that he’s re-opening Bishop Service Mine, Keystone Underground Mine and Keystone Coal Prep Plant in McDowell County.
This move opened up around 125 mine jobs in the county.
“Jim didn’t have to take over those mines,” Mike Caputo of the United Mine Workers Association of America said. “And he did. And he’s a good employer. And not only did he take over those mines, he took over the liabilities that went with them. And he’s continuing to pay that. And my hat’s off to him because the big companies cut and run.”
Phil Law has lived in Welch his entire life. Even though Justice continues to make it a priority, Law isn’t sold that coal can survive in the long run for West Virginia.
But regardless of who is the next governor of the Mountain State, Law says he wants someone in office who can keep a promise to help McDowell County.
“People have been making promises to us here in McDowell County and then they put us down for being the lowest in the state, and then they wonder why,” Law said. “Because politicians make promises, and then they don’t keep them. We need help, and they wonder why we’re the lowest in the state. And no one gives us the help we deserve.”
Justice assured, even amidst its economic woes, there are still reasons to believe in McDowell County.
“McDowell County has tourism possibilities, it has agriculture possibilities on top of these mountain top removal jobs and everything and it has bound and natural resources like crazy,” Justice said. “And it has great timber. I mean great timber. And those manufacturing jobs can come right here.”
Justice also announced that two other mines his corporation owns are re-opening in Raleigh County and Wyoming County. The mine openings have brought back more than 370 coal jobs.
An additional pair of mines owned by the Justice Corporation, one in Raleigh County and one in Wyoming County, are set to open in January. These other mines will bring about another 120 coal miner jobs.
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