WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - Coal could be considered the lifeblood in our region it provides jobs, electricity, and touches the lives of so many. But supporters are saying coal mining is under attack. Saturday there was a rally in Washington County, Virginia with supporters hoping to keep coal miners working in Appalachia.
For some, it's not so much a job being a coal miner as it is a family tradition. "Around this area it's what people do, it's something a lot of people are proud of," said coal miner Shawn Greer.
Greer was one of many that came to rally Saturday and support Appalachian coal jobs. "If the EPA agenda continues and coal mines are shut down in southwest Virginia, you're going to see the place dry up," said Tazwell County Supervisor Seth White.
That means one thing for Greer and fellow miners in southwest Virginia. "New job, pretty much start over from day one," added Greer.
But supporters say coal is the lifeblood of the community and any loss will affect everyone. "For each coal miner that mines the coal, it gives three and a half more people a job from here to Chesapeake Bay," said retired coal miner Jennings Webb.
Those with ties to Capitol Hill say one way to fix this threat is by voting. "There are an awful lot of Virginians ready to stand arm and arm, shoulder to shoulder with every one of you. And we're not going to stand for EPA's role in Virginia taking away coal jobs," said Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain.
During the rally News 5 caught up with Congressman Morgan Griffith, he tells us if coal jobs are lost in our region electric rates will go up. Which could hurt both homes and businesses.