The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

July 31, 2013

No southern lawmakers or Republicans going to EPA

CHARLESTON — Absent from the official invitation list for that ballyhooed trip to confront the Environmental Protection Agency in a Thursday protest against what are perceived as paralyzing regulations on coal are any legislators from the heart of the southern coalfields.

And one southern lawmaker, while expressing confidence in the ability of those invited to carry coal’s message to the White House, is keenly disappointed.

Moreover, a Republican leader in the House, reminded that no one from his party made the guest list either, termed the visit a public relations gimmick.

Heading the entourage destined Thursday for the nation’s capital via bus tentatively are Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall and House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison. The list also is to include a representative of industry and the United Mine Workers of America, but a complete roster was unavailable Tuesday from state Democratic headquarters in Charleston.

“I have full confidence in those going, but the heart of the coalfields should be represented as well,” said Sen. Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, who voiced his desire to the Democratic leadership that he be asked to attend.

“It would be easy to name 15 people from the coalfields in the House and Senate who should be first on the list.”

Not only were southern lawmakers snubbed, but ditto for the Republicans, prompting criticism by House Minority Whip Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, who said it is plain to see that West Virginia’s economy has suffered by the EPA’s assault on the coal industry.

“West Virginia Democrats must join with us to fight for our people and jobs, with actual real legislative action, not public relations stunts like this partisan bus trip,” Cowles said.

Cowles said the GOP has offered several “strong bills” to reverse the Obama administration on coal regulations, but the Democratic leadership has failed to act on them.

“Let’s stand together, let’s work together,” the Republican leader said.

“I am disappointed in the state Democrat leadership. Now is the time to be united as West Virginians, not play politics.”

Only one member of West Virginia’s delegation in Congress, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., plans to sit in on the meeting with EPA officials.

In advance of the meeting, Rahall said he is “delighted” to have members of his political party and home state demonstrating on behalf of the coal industry.

“The policies of this EPA are hurting Democratic coal miners just as much as they are hurting Republican coal miners, and if we want to help coal miners of both parties and their families, we need to recognize that,” he said.

“We need this administration to get the message loud and clear that members of both parties are strongly opposed to those ill-considered, anti-coal policies.”

State Democratic Chairman Larry Puccio announced the trip last week during legislative interims at the Capitol but offered no specifics on what EPA regulations were objectionable.

For several years, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and others have been locked in battle with the EPA over what they routinely have labeled “a war on coal.” Tomblin took the administration to federal court and won reversals in some areas of the legal struggle over regulations.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday.

    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years. 

    Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day.

    A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.


    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story