Association chief urges West Virginia’s to support state’s coal miners

West Virginia’s coal industry injects more than $7 billion dollars each year into the state’s economy. More than $2 billion of that is in payroll for the state’s active coal miners. Another $1 billion is paid in various taxes each year by the industry.  The remaining $4 billion reflects the overall investment of the industry in the state through equipment purchases, service contracts and other transactions. It does not reflect indirect economic contributions, such as our annual sponsorship of the Friends of Coal Bowl football game between Marshall University and West Virginia University.

The money forms the foundation of the state’s economy.  It is the bedrock of the state.  

That foundation is threatened. It is threatened by the Obama Administration, its allies in Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and radical anti-coal extremists.  Coal use, they say, must be stopped.  The nation’s coal-fired electric generation plants must be shut down.  Coal miners, they say, must find other work.  

The Friends of Coal say such arguments are based simply on politics and not on science or reason.  Coal miners are true environmentalists and work hard to serve the nation’s energy needs while preserving the nation’s environment. 

“Everything is contingent on us being able to mine coal,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association and the Friends of Coal. “If we don’t mine coal, our coal mining families and communities will suffer. West Virginia’s people will suffer. It is as simple as that.

“The sad thing is that these people who oppose coal and want to end its use don’t even think about the long-term effects ... the effects on people … of the political games they play,” Raney said. “They either don’t think about it or they don’t care and I don’t know which is worse – ignorance or arrogance – but the result is the same. The end result is the destruction of entire communities, of families and of people.”

Raney urged the people of West Virginia, whether they are fans of Marshall or of West Virginia University,  to stand up for their team – the West Virginia coal miner.

“I am asking the people of our state to make themselves heard,” Raney said. “Call or write your congressional representatives. Call and write Obama and tell them West Virginia needs coal. Tell them West Virginians depend on coal and tell them to stop their war against the coal miner. Tell them you are a Friend of Coal.”

The Friends of Coal Bowl is an annual college football game played between the West Virginia University Mountaineers and the Marshall University Thundering Herd. The game is sponsored by the Friends of Coal, a coal industry trade group all of West Virginia.

Game four of the series will be played Saturday in Morgantown.