CHARLESTON – Our state and our nation lost something special early Monday morning with the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd.  Our nation lost a leader and a respected senior senator. Our state lost so much more – we lost an icon and a true champion of our people and the people of Appalachia.
Byrd died earlier this morning at the age of 92 at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va.  He was the longest-serving member of Congress in history and was a recognized authority on the institution’s history, its rules and procedures.
“Senator Byrd was a friend,” said Bill Raney. “He was a personal friend of mine and of the people of our state.  He was a son of the coalfields and he held a special place in his heart for our coal miners.  He worked hard for West Virginia and for our people. His love for our state was matched only by the high regard our people held for him.”
Byrd had served in the U.S. Senate since 1958. During that time he had been the majority leader twice, chaired the Appropriations Committee and written a four-volume history of the Senate.
Sen. Byrd’s wife of 68 years, Erma, died in 2006. The senator is survived by his two daughters, Mona and Marjorie, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  Plans for Senator Byrd’s memorial services were not disclosed as of the time of this release.

To view the latest video from FACES of Coal. The video features stream biologist Ben Faulkner who explains why conductivity is a faulty standard for measuring stream health and breaks down the science of conductivity in easy-to-understand terms.

To watch the video, go to