A group claiming to represent the coal miners of West Virginia and the citizens of the West Virginia coalfields has already thrown its support behind current Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

The group is called “Coal Miners For Capito.”

“Shelley Moore has been such a staunch ally of all our industry the whole time she’s been in there,” said Roger Horton with the group. “I think she’d be beneficial to us in the Senate.”

Horton admits longtime U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller who is up for reelection in 2014 has, in the past, supported legislation which has helped coal miners and coal mining families. But, he says, the longtime Democrat has stood by and allowed other crippling legislation to pass without a fight, leaving the industry hamstrung.

“There’s been a number of other issues the Senate could have acted on to help our industry and they have failed to do so,” Horton said. “The list goes on and on and on.”

Horton says, in recent years, Senator Rockefeller has aligned himself with groups which have worked to eliminate the coal industry.

The surge in natural gas and oil production in the United States has lead to coal being replaced, in some cases, as a primary energy source. Critics say those in the industry are refusing to acknowledge coal is in decline.

Horton admits that, but doesn’t accept the reasons.

“Coal is in decline, but not because of its unavailability. We have 250 years plus of coal reserves in this country,” Horton tells MetroNews. “It’s in decline because people who want it to be have done such a tremendously good job.”

Horton says his organization was on board with Capito early when she agreed to champion those bills the current Senate has left to languish which could help the industry.

“Why kill an industry and put people out of work when you can, in fact, continue to let them be employed and study what you need to do, then put the money behind it to get it fixed?” he asked.

“Shelley Moore has promised to do that.”

Congresswoman Capito announced her plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 last week.

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