The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

June 3, 2014

The ‘coal’ is about to hit the fan in W.Va.

— Many workers are still attracted to mining, despite being six times more susceptible to fatal injury than other professions, because it can be quite lucrative. This proves especially true for individuals without a college degree.

New underground miners must receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction, with 32 hours of training in the classroom. If you were to be a production worker in a manufacturing plant, you also do not normally need a college degree, unless you are coming into a management position.

If the pockets of West Virginia’s politicians, were not lined with black coal dust, our leaders may have enough vision for the future of the state to bid for solar manufacturing plants and wind turbine plants to move production into the mountain state. 

The arguments against cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent, are economic based out of fear of losing income and increased cost of electricity. The fear, should be the continued poisoning of West Virginia’s water, land and breathing air, as those things are much more crucial to basic life functions.

There is a cost to life on earth, for every resource that we pull out of the earth. While all around us there are an abundance of clean energy resources available, West Virginia isn’t showing interest in embracing change in order to ensure life, or a future, for the generations to come.

If you are smart enough to learn how to mine coal in a coal mine, then you are smart enough to work in a solar panel manufacturing plant. If you are smart enough to learn how to maintain critical coal mining equipment for the coal company, then you are smart enough to learn how to maintain wind turbines and repair and replace solar panels.

The coal in West Virginia, at the current rate of production, should only be around another 110 years. That’s not that long in the grand scheme of things. It’s a future that won’t last. West Virginia is already full of abandoned coal towns.

Appalachia, COULD be hurt hard economically by the carbon rule. Or ... West Virginia COULD take action and bring the future into the state and build their economic future and save their environment and tourist industry. Build a future NOW.

Valerie Snuffer

Nashville, Tenn.

formerly of Layland

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