From the Bluefield Weekly Telegraph:
Let me state emphatically that I do not know and have never met a person who indicated that he or she opposed coal mining or that he or she was an enemy of coal.
I know and have met many who oppose mountaintop removal as a method of coal mining. Many strongly oppose filling the headwaters of all types of streams. Many also feel that coal tonnage mined would not be significantly affected if mountaintop removal as a type of mining were simply discontinued. They feel the tonnage now mined by mountaintop removal would be mined by other methods and that it would actually increase the number of jobs in the coal industry.
The U.S. coal industry now, as in the past, has the capacity to mine more tonnage than the coal market can support at a profitable level. Therefore the coal industry in West Virginia will continue the boom and bust cycles it has known since its inception. Coal miners will continue to be at the mercy of layoffs and recalls. Our basic question is: Do we continue mountaintop removal as a mining method, sacrifice our mountains and in the process make a few people rich or do we close it down, save the mountains and spread our wealth from coal among a much broader base of those engaged in other types of mining?
I think Senator Byrd had it right. It is past time for arguing over this or that type of mining and to seriously make major efforts to develop both the “safe” use of what is mined and the development of “safe” alternative sources of energy to supplement the “safe” use of coal.
A strong diversified economic base is far better and more dependable than an economic base built on a few extractable, renewable and nonrenewable resources.