EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWest Virginia Coal Exports Are Up
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Jul. 11, 2013 6:40 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 11, 2013 8:39 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The state Department of Commerce said West Virginia's international coal exports grew by 40 percent last year, with China and Japan buying the most.
Those numbers were discussed at a coal forum in Charleston. However, some in attendance were left wondering whey it seems like West Virginia coal is in demand everywhere around the world and not here in the U.S.
"You have to wonder with the legislation the way it is why can't use the product that we really manufacture and mine ourselves," Rick Altman, a coal miner from Marshall County, said. "If you can't do it here why do you have to put it somewhere else?"
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was the forum's keynote speaker. He said something must be done to temper what he viewed as the Environmental Protection Agency's assault on coal and coal-fired power plants. Tomblin said the agency needs to consider the big picture, including jobs and the economy, when dealing with coal.
"I would just certainly hope that congress could come together and put the reins on the EPA," Tomblin said. "In our state, if we have a department that gets out of control the legislature or the governor is able to reel them in. It seems that the EPA is an agency that operates independently of everybody."
Bill Raney, the head of the West Virginia Coal Association, pointed out that if coal goes away, the technology does not yet exist that would allow natural gas, solar, hydro and wind power to replace it.
"Well, 40 percent of the electricity in Baltimore and Washington is provided by West Virginia coal miners," Raney said. "So ask the people up there, 'Which 40 percent of the day do you not want electricity?' I'd be curious what the answers would be."
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