The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 19, 2012

Circuit clerk walking to Washington with his goal to help coal

PINEVILLE — “Mr. Stover Goes To Washington — Part 3.”

Yes, Wyoming County Circuit Clerk David “Bugs” Stover, 57, is walking to Washington, D.C., again.

He will spend his Thanksgiving break walking rather than at the beach, he said.

This time, Stover wants to talk with President Barack Obama about coal.

“If anybody in the world can produce coal cleanly, it’s the United States of America,” Stover emphasized.

He said other countries have few to no regulations regarding coal.

“Coal production for energy purposes is going to increase for the next 50 years — no matter what anybody does,” Stover said.

Stover believes Obama’s and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s policies on coal are devastating the coal industry, which is already impacting the area economy. It is costing Wyoming County jobs and millions in tax dollars, Stover said.

He hopes to see the president and talk with him briefly about coal.

“If President Obama gives me one minute, I’ll make him fall in love with Wyoming County, West Virginia,” Stover said.

Stover began his trek Friday afternoon, and he expects the entire trip to take just over a week. He believes he will be back at his job as his planned Thanksgiving break ends.

Earlier this year, Stover rode his bike 90-plus miles, from Mullens to Charleston, for the West Virginia Association of Counties’ Healthy Counties session July 23-24. If only 5 percent of the population would exercise 30 minutes three times a week, then health care costs would drop $100 billion. Obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes could be controlled, he said.

In 2011, Stover walked to Charleston to bring attention to the West Virginia House of Delegates’ redistricting plan.

In 2006, Stover walked from Welch to Charleston to bring attention to the need for the Coalfields Expressway, especially in Wyoming and McDowell counties.

In 1998, he walked from Mullens to Washington to protest the Kyoto Protocol, which he believed would impact the coal industry and cost the county jobs.

In the 1980s, he also walked to the nation’s capital to bring attention to the coal industry.

— E-mail: msbrooks@register-herald.com

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