It’s time for a change. That was the message of all three of West Virginia’s Representatives to the U.S. House. They were guest speakers Friday at the West Virginia Mining Symposium in Charleston.
Third District Congressman Nick Rahall says the mining industry is facing a lot of uncertainty and it’s hurting business. However, he believes it is a temporary setback.
“Coal is not dead! King is not dead! We go through these cycles, up and down, good times and bad times. But it’s important to recognize we’re going to pull out of this,” said Rahall.
The Democrat says the industry is hurting because of the economy and politics in Washington. With Lisa Jackson out as the head of the EPA, Rahall says he’s not sure if new nominee Gina McCarthy will be any friendlier to coal.
“If she’s confirmed, I will definitely ask for a meeting with her, of coal state Representatives,” says Rahall. “I would hope that she would be more open to meeting not only with members of Congress from coal states but also the industry itself.”
One thing Rahall is not doing — holding his breath.
“This administration is not friendly to us. That’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, we’re going to survive. We’re going to continue to provide jobs for our people,” according to Rahall.
The Congressman says what the President really needs to do is find a nominee without previous bias towards the industry.
“I think it’s going to take an outsider quite honestly. You have to have an [EPA] administrator that understands the bottom line, the jobs that are involved with regulations that come out of the EPA and the repercussion on jobs,” says Rahall. “That’s what you need at the EPA.”
Also giving their opinions on coal were First District Congressman David McKinley and Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, both Republicans.