West Virginia miners: ‘We want to not be forgotten’

September 20, 2012

By Andrea Billups-The Washington Times

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bobby Brock is keeping the promise he made to his family never to work in a coal mine. Many of his kinfolk have eked out a dangerous but steady living a mile underground in the darkness and chill, and Mr. Brock, who lost his uncle in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster, proudly defends their honor.

“Every time you flip a light switch, thank a miner,” he says.

Mr. Brock, 48, who lives in Beckley, W.Va., in the heart of the state’s southern coalfields, is like many others here — angry at what he sees as a government in Washington determined to take away not only his livelihood but erode, with regulations and greed, a hardscrabble culture that has held families and mountain communities together for decades.

“Miners spend every day 6 inches from hell, and they do it for the love of their family and making a better way for them. Ain’t that part of the American dream? Not if Obama has anything to do with it,” Mr. Brock argues. “I do not respect him or his party for what they are doing to this state.”

Others who monitor policy and state politics are reluctant to lay all the industry’s woes at the feet of the president, although it is clear President Obama’s energy policies have not helped him with Mountain State voters. Increasing environmental regulations and the call for “clean coal” — a part of the Democratic platform at this month’s party convention in Charlotte, N.C. — have made this unfriendly electoral territory for Mr. Obama.

To read more, visit:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/18/west-virginia-miners-we-want-to-not-be-forgotten/

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