Coal Mining Communities Urge U.S. Senate to Join Effort to Protect Jobs and Stop the War on Coal

September 25, 2012

An editorial in today’s Bluefield Daily Telegraph calls upon the U.S. Senate to take up the House-passed Stop the War on Coal Act. Citing local jobs losses from EPA’s destructive regulations, the editors explain that Senate action on this legislation is “vital to the survival of an industry under siege by Washington.” The coal industry is currently responsible for over 550,000 U.S. jobs. According to the National Mining Association, more than 130,000 Americans are directly employed in coal mining across 25 states. The industry also estimates that every coal mining job creates an additional 3.5 jobs in the economy. The Stop the War on Coal Act is the latest piece of jobs legislation to pass the House and now joins the ranks of the multitude of jobs bills that remain stuck in the Democrat-led Senate awaiting action.

EDITORIAL: War on Coal — Senate must pass critical measure
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

While some pundits were quick to declare the “Stop the War on Coal Act” as a political move by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at hurting President Barack Obama in battleground states like Virginia, those of us living in the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia know better.

We realize that the five bills passed by the House last week, collectively referred to as H.R. 3409, and informally known as “The Stop the War on Coal Act,” is vital to the survival of an industry under siege by Washington. Our history, our future and our remaining coal mining jobs are under attack by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

One needs to look no further than last week’s devastating announcement of the loss of 1,200 coal mining jobs, and the closure of eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania by coal producer Alpha Natural Resources as evidence of the negative impact of this war. Coal-fired plants across the region that once provided gainful employment to area residents also are being closed as a result of new overreaching regulations, including Appalachian Power’s Glen Lynn, Va., plant. …

This bipartisan legislation — supported by both Democrats and Republicans — passed the House by a vote of 235 to 175. That’s because some lawmakers in Washington still realize that coal is the fuel that powers more than 42 percent of our nation’s electrical generation. …

Yes, it is true that both the House and the Senate have now left Washington so that lawmakers can hit the campaign trail. That means the earliest the Senate would take up this vital legislation is November. But this delay — if nothing else — will afford area residents more time to contact their senators, and demand the passage of “The Stop the War on Coal Act” in the U.S. Senate.

And we expect all lawmakers serving coal-producing states in the Senate to support this critical measure. That includes U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; U.S. Sen. Jay  Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.; and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Every job lost in the coal industry is another blow to our nation’s still anemic economic recovery. And the loss of 1,200 jobs is absolutely crippling.

Read the entire Bluefield Daily Telegraph editorial online HERE.

Read about the House vote on H.R. 3409, the Stop the War on Coal Act HERE.