Candidates and people in our region spar over coal - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Candidates and people in our region spar over coal

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For more than one hundred years coal has been a natural resource in hot demand. 

The way we get it from the land to our power plants has both caused controversy and provided jobs. 

Agree or disagree with how we use it or extract it, there is one thing everyone can agree on.  Coal can make or break a candidate in the Appalachians on election day.

"A lot of coal miners are losing jobs," said Richard Sturms of Charleston.  "A lot of coal mining is shutting down.  If he's [President Barack Obama] elected for another four years, I just see the coal industry in West Virginia just continuing to shrink."

Talk with someone like Julian Martin and you get a different take.

"He's making them follow the law, which they really don't like.  If Romney gets in they won't have to follow any laws.  They'll just be able to continue like they did in years past," said Martin.

Romney's energy plan focuses on easing regulations and keeping already existing jobs.  Obama's policies focus on investing in clean, green technology like carbon capture, wind turbines and solar energy. 

Some in our region don't see coal as an issue at all. 

"I don't think it has that much effect on the coal industry at all.  I think both candidates are saying what they need to say to get the vote," said Van Pratt of Charleston.

Both candidates have sparred over energy issues throughout the campaign, but neither made a trip to West Virginia to make their case. Now, those who call coal country home are making it for them.

"The issue is not coal," said Martin.  "The issue is that they are destroying the mountains and that should stop.  Hopefully under Obama that will stop.  Under Romney it will increase ten fold."

Sturms said, "I think that Romney is actually going to make it a lot easier for West Virginia to produce the coal here." 

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