By BILL RANEY, president
West Virginia Coal Association
Just weeks ago, Hillary Clinton, who many think is the presumptive Democrat nominee for president, said she was “going to be putting a lot of coal miners and coal operators out of business” if she was elected.
Since then she has flip-flopped at every turn – conveniently apologizing for her comments, claiming she “made a mistake” – then doubling down on them with other groups in other parts of the country, echoing Obama by saying dealing with “climate change” is imperative. In fact, she said last week that ALL Democrats agree that climate change is the most important issue they face. I know many of them here, in West Virginia, don’t believe that, since they are experiencing the economic wrath that’s come from the Obama administration’s War on Coal! That is what’s real, here in West Virginia!
Now she’s coming to West Virginia and I bet she will tailor her message to the crowd – previous statements be damned! She will probably amplify her hypocritical proposal to “help” laid off coal miners. Hypocritical because we wouldn’t be needing such help if the Obama administration had not done everything possible to take our people’s jobs for the last eight years!
If this is the same plan she talked about several weeks ago, it is nothing more than patronizing our professional coal miners and all those who have depended on our coal mines operating every day, by suggesting that a check from Washington will somehow be an adequate replacement for their good-paying jobs with benefits, much less allowing them to maintain their families’ standard of living! As we’ve said before, the miners and others in our industry that I’ve talked to, don’t want a handout, that want a job, the job they have had for years that this Obama administration has taken away!
But the truth is very simple … Based on what she has been saying, Mrs. Clinton and her campaign will fly in here — offer a bunch of money to our professional coal miners, who’ve lost their jobs because of the Obama administration, and to our communities that are suffering because this Obama administration has caused our coal production and the accompanying tax revenues to nearly cease —- and they will fly out feeling better about themselves, while the economic devastation remains! Obama promised this devastation eight years ago and he’s made it happen with complete disregard for Congress, illegal rulemaking and every other underhanded bureaucratic move imaginable, and, so far, based on everything she has been saying (except for the convenient apologies), absolutely indicates she intends to continue Obama’s War on Coal!
I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t expect us to believe the few, shallow apologies she’s quickly offered when confronted and not the reams of rhetoric she’s put forth in other parts of the country about climate change and shutting down coal mines and fossil fuels, all together. I hope and pray we won’t buy into that just because one campaign stop or two are made and convenient statements are made as she flies out of state.
I don’t believe West Virginia can survive another four years of the kind of treatment we’ve received the last eight years from the Obama administration (see current budget dilemma) and I am convinced, beyond a doubt, that our industry, our operations, our people and all the other West Virginians who depend on our mines operating every day, will not survive under a federal administration like we’ve had and, certainly not one that has said for months that she will perpetuate the War on Coal.
Bill Raney is president of the West Virginia Coal Association, a trade association in Charleston representing approximately 95 percent of the state’s coal production.