200 gather for pro-coal rally

Oct. 7–CHARLESTON, W.Va. — About 200 people turned out Wednesday to protest the Obama administration’s efforts to more closely examine permits for mountaintop removal coal mining.

Protesters also complained about pending legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions and more generally about

“big government” interfering with the coal industry and with their way of life.

The event, sponsored by the West Virginia Conservative Foundation, focused on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing review of 79 coal-mining permits proposed for West Virginia and three other states.

“Every coal miner in the state is under attack by EPA,” West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney told the crowd, which gathered for the noontime rally at the coal miner statue on the Capitol grounds.

The rally aimed to put more political pressure on EPA and on the state’s Democratic elected officials, especially Rep. Nick J. Rahall, who has said EPA is just “doing its job” by more closely examining the mining permits.

Other speakers included a worker at a Massey Energy surface mine, coal association publicist Bryan Brown, who launched the industry group FACES of Coal, and Delegate Troy Andes, R-Putnam, who works as a media spokesman for Massey.

Gov. Joe Manchin has criticized EPA’s permit review as “cruel and inhumane,” while a United Mine Workers leader, Roger Horton, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting the EPA action “is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism.”

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