We have often shown how elected and appointed officials at the federal level, on both sides of the aisle, have touted the economic importance of coal. Last week, in our Factuality Tour with Steve Gates, we featured an event where Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said coal is vital to our economic and energy security.
Local leaders on both sides of the aisle also know how critical coal is to creating jobs and growing our economy. Last week, eleven state legislators from Virginia and West Virginia met with reporters and editorial board staff from The Bluefield Daily Telegraph to discuss coal’s importance to their region. Virginia legislators of both parties noted that the coal-based electricity industry fueled our nation’s economy and provides jobs inside and outside their region.
“I wish there was some way to just flip a switch and show the people of this nation just how much of their energy comes from coal,” State Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell said. “You can’t find any energy source right now that can replace coal. I believe we are all united in our support for coal …”
Delegates Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-Wythe and James W. “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell both expressed their support for the coal industry — saying that the industry is vital in terms of the energy is provides the nation and for the jobs it provides in southwestern Virginia.
“I’m on board with coal,” Delegate-elect Joe Ellington, a Mercer County Republican said. He said that the industry needs to continue searching for ways to mine coal safely and to continue efforts to protect and preserve the environment. “It’s been part of our past, our present and will be our future.”
And legislators from West Virginia stood united with their next-door neighbors, discussing coal’s abundance and affordability.
Senator-elect Ron Miller, also a Democrat representing the 10th Senatorial District said, “I’m a strong supporter of coal,” he said. “We ought to be talking about our metallurgical coal. We have some of the best, if not the best metallurgical coal in the world.”
Delegate-elect Marty Gearheart, a Republican from Mercer County, said that coal can compete against all energy sources. “Coal is the most efficient, abundant source of energy,” he said.
Click here for more information on how advanced coal-fueled electricity generation can create jobs and promote economic growth in key states around the country.