CHARLESTON, W.Va.: U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh toured an underground coal mine for the primary time, becoming a member of Sen. Joe Manchin at a northern West Virginia facility on Wednesday.
Walsh did his finest to sign that Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration wont be an enemy of the coal trade as he and Manchin visited American Consolidated Natural Resources’ Golden Ridge Portal Mine close to Wheeling.
Walsh described donning the right security gear, taking an elevator journey right down to the mine after which a mantrip journey by rail to the longwall to observe a machine grind and extract coal from the seam.
Walsh’s company oversees the Mine Safety and Health Administration in addition to the administration of advantages for coal miners disabled by black lung illness.
I felt it was actually necessary for me to go down and get a really feel for what mine staff do,” Walsh said. “I have a different understanding and appreciation of the work.”
The mine was operated for years by Murray Energy Holdings, which emerged from federal chapter safety below a brand new identify and possession group. St. Clairsville, Ohio-based American Consolidated is the most important privately owned U.S. coal operator.
West Virginia has misplaced hundreds of jobs up to now decade as firms and utilities discover utilizing different power sources comparable to pure gasoline, photo voltaic and wind.
Democratic candidates for president have struggled lately to attach with voters in West Virginia, partly as a consequence of a push towards clear power below the Obama administration. Still, regardless of his guarantees, coal didn’t come roaring again below President Donald Trump, although he once more gained the state of West Virginia in 2020 by an amazing margin in his unsuccessful bid for re-election.
Earlier this yr, the United Mine Workers Union, the nations largest coal union, stated it could settle for Bidens plan to maneuver additional away from coal and different fossil fuels in change for a real power transition that features hundreds of jobs in renewable power and spending on expertise to make coal cleaner.
In June, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined Manchin, the one Democrat at present holding statewide elected workplace in West Virginia, on a tour to advertise the Biden administration’s plans to contain the once-booming coal state within the improvement of fresh power.
Manchin stated in a information launch that he mentioned with Walsh the influence that the $1 trillion infrastructure invoice handed by Congress would have. Manchin has vowed that as new power alternatives emerge, West Virginia coal communities gained’t be left behind, and he stated he seems to be ahead to working with Walsh to assist and reinvest in them.
I’ve all the time stated the transition to a cleaner power future should come from innovation, not elimination and the bipartisan infrastructure invoice that handed the Senate will do exactly that,” Manchin stated.
Walsh stated Manchin received that time throughout to him of their dialogue about coal’s future.
The president has targets of carbon neutrality and different power sources, Walsh stated. “Certainly these conversations must occur. We do have an trade the place persons are working in. Theyre involved about the way forward for their trade as effectively.