Posted on | October 21, 2012 | 35 Comments
You remember Grundy, Virginia, the Appalachian town whose airport expansion was stalled by federal regulators because of the Obama administration’s “War on Coal.” The photo above shows part of the crowd that attended today’s pro-coal rally in Grundy, and was sent to me by Debra McCown, who reports that the sheriff’s department estimated the crowd as at least 5,500 — in a town whose population is only 1,100.
One early report from the Bluefield (W.Va.) Daily Telegraph said: “The traffic was backed up from Poplar Gap Park to U.S. 460 in Grundy, Va., and backed up to Haysi, Va., in the other direction.”
UPDATE: To understand how deeply the “War on Coal” hits Appalachia, read Matt Vespa’s account at the Hot Air Green Room:
The issue has stoked anger against the Obama administration amongst voters in these areas. In the Williamson Daily News, a local paper circulated in Kentucky and West Virginia, staff writer Julia Roberts Goad wrote on October 13 about how United for Coal, “a citizens group created to support the coal mining industry” has declared that “our government has decided to commit ‘Regional Genocide’ against our people …”
UPDATE II: Mitt Romney’s son Matt spoke at the rally in Grundy, as did Susan Allen, wife of Virginia Senate candidate George Allen. The Allen campaign issued this press release:
Susan Allen Rallies Virginians in Coal Country
Grundy, VA – Today, Susan Allen rallied Southwest Virginians at the Rally in Support of American Coal Jobs, joining Matt Romney and Congressman Morgan Griffith in standing strong for the people and jobs behind Virginia’s coal. The event was hosted by the Eastern Coal Council, Friends of Coal, FACES of Coal and other coal industry leaders in Buchanan County.
In Grundy’s Poplar Park, thousands of coal miners, concerned families, residents, business leaders and local officials gathered to rally in support of Virginia coal. They feel that their voices are being ignored as Washington’s harmful regulatory policies are causing coal plants and mines to shut down, costing the region thousands of coal-related jobs. Susan Allen gave a speech sharing George Allen’s commitment to Southwest Virginia and using our American energy resources from our coalfields to our coast.
“Coal plays such a vital role for families and jobs in Southwest Virginia,” said Susan Allen. “Virginia is blessed with such abundant energy resources like coal and the natural gas and oil off our shore. With these resources, the ability to create new jobs and make electricity more affordable is right at our fingertips. As George and I have listened to Southwest Virginians, their number one concern has been the war on coal that has cost many of their family members and neighbors their jobs and livelihoods. Skyrocketing electricity prices have taken a toll on families and have forced many small businesses to close their doors despite years of hard work. On November 6th, Southwest Virginians have an opportunity to make their voices heard by sending George Allen to the U.S. Senate to fight for Virginia jobs and stand up for coal. George will work hard from day one to unleash our American energy resources from our coalfields to our coasts for Virginia jobs and more affordable energy to lead the way towards America’s Comeback!”
On Monday, Susan Allen will visit the American Mine Research facility in Rocky Gap to listen to their concerns about the effects of Washington’s harmful energy policies on Virginia families and jobs.
UPDATE III: Debra McCown has now filed her report of the Grundy rally and it’s got the quote of the
day year millenium:
“The only promise Obama kept was to kill coal,” said Jerry Shortt, a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day — and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent.
“You see all these people? I bet you a quarter of them’s laid off,” he said. “I know a lot of people that did [vote for Obama] that are not going to next time. Hope turned into damnation.”
UPDATE IV: The Lonely Conservative:
Who knows, maybe Obama’s hoping that his “green jobs” strategy won’t produce any more bankruptcies or layoffs before the election, so those green workers will vote his way. I don’t think that will work. I think he miscalculated the backlash from coal workers, who all live in the swing states he so desperately needs to win reelection. Maybe he thought that expanding the welfare state would be enough to win these hard workers over, and just doesn’t understand the culture of work most of us live by.