West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was re-elected earlier this month. Congratulate him on his victory -- and tell him that the key to a successful term in office will be moving his state away from dirty, deadly, job-killing coal.
Although Appalachia is known as a coal-producing region, the truth is that the industry is bad for West Virginia's economy. Coal provides over 20,000 jobs in the state, but that represents more than an 80% drop since 1940. And a stunning new report from the Associated Press last month showed that, thanks to geology (NOT EPA regulations), Appalachian coal production will likely drop by another 50% between 2008 and 2015. And even more recently, the stock prices for coal companies like Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, and Patriot Coal have all tumbled - job losses can't be far behind.
By tying itself to a dying industry, West Virginia isn't just denying climate change; it's choosing a permanent recession for its economic future. Tell Governor Tomblin: Save your state's workers. Begin the transition to a clean energy future now so that the eventual death of coal does not hurt your citizens. A good place to start is by increasing state subsidies for wind energy - something the Department of Energy has said West Virginia is in a good position to do, thanks to the many ridgelines that Big Coal would rather see blown up than used for productive wind turbines.
Picture Credit: West Virginia's Mountaineer Wind Energy Center. The state needs more facilities like this one in Preston and Tucker Counties. Courtesy Wikipedia.
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