Opinion

Kudos to coal supporters who went to Pittsburgh

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — What a powerful way to make a statement. More than 5,000 supporters of coal converged upon Pittsburgh, Pa., last week to protest controversial new EPA rules that are expected to kill thousands of mining related jobs. These proud men and woman are to be applauded for their efforts. And lawmakers in Washington would be wise to listen to them.

As expected, the EPA didn’t schedule any public hearings on its controversial new carbon emission rules in the coalfield communities of southern West Virginia or Southwest Virginia. But Pittsburgh was close enough for many area miners and their families to make the trip in an effort to send a unified message to Washington. The event didn’t go off without a few problems. About 15 United Mine Workers of America leaders were arrested for civil disobedience during the coal rally, including UMWA International President Cecil Roberts. While being arrested, Roberts told a reporter with the Times West Virginian that the arrest “… was an expression by the leadership of the union and the solidarity for our members when our jobs are on the line … it’s what it’s all about.”

Some of the coal miners who marched at last week’s rally also were met by protesters who were in favor of the EPA’s plan to cut carbon pollution. But the gathering was otherwise a largely peaceful affair. And that is important. Obviously emotions are high in the coalfield communities. But we must communicate our message to Washington in a peaceful and civil manner…

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