The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

November 15, 2012

What's next?

Southern West Virginia could use some good news.

Like the provision of more accessible and improved roadways.

More developed land.

And more long term jobs.

Yet, it appears that the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency specifically, is stymieing efforts to bring much needed progress to our region — once again.

Recently, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, Rep. Nick Rahall and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin each publicly expressed their displeasure with the EPA’s delay of a key permit that would allow a CONSOL mine, and the King Coal Highway, to move forward.

Displeasure may be putting it mildly.

An Oct. 30 press release from Manchin’s office described it as “outrage.”

The release stated: “After the EPA delayed issuing a needed 402 permit, CONSOL issued a WARN Notice notifying workers that they would be laid off. The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority estimates that 2,000 acres of land could be developed and 2,500 new jobs could be created in the next 15 years.”

Manchin’s stance was clear.

“I am incensed and infuriated that the EPA would intentionally delay the needed permit for a public-private project that would bring so many good jobs and valuable infrastructure to communities that so desperately need them.”

The EPA has been quick to stymie progress, hinder job growth and squash W.Va.’s economic driver — the coal industry — in our area at every turn.

With the public-private opportunities that exist, it would serve West Virginians well, and all Americans for that matter, if the federal government could take a clear look at the possibilities that are available.

Common sense ideas like this one should not be dismissed quickly.

When the extracting of our valuable resources leads to new development of land, roads and infrastructure, that’s a win-win situation.

Let’s hope we don’t lose out, due to politics, plain stubbornness, or the bureaucracy in Washington.

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