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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2010
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

King Coal's Top Lobbyist to Meet Obama

[caption id="attachment_5575" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Joe Manchin meets Coal River residents in his office"][/caption]It’s getting serious. They are bringing out their big guns. King Coal is getting ready to throw their kitchen sink at the pesky anti-mountaintop removal movement. The coal industry's top lobbyist, WV Gov. Joe Manchin, is scheduled to meet President Obama and Vice-President Biden with ten other governors on the issue of energy. Manchin has been a major obstacle in ending mountaintop removal (MTR) in West Virginia and rails publicly against Obama's Environmental Protection Agency taking stronger action to regulate and ban the practice. Geez, I wonder what sort of energy he’ll be advocating for? Manchin's fortunes are tied directly to King Coal. He has stated publicly that West Virginia is an extraction state. Just this week, he remarked "just cutting out coal is not feasible, it's not going to happen." As opposition to mountaintop removal grows locally, regionally and nationally, the backlash will escalate. Violence and tension run rampant in the coalfields. Coal front groups lobby and run ads promoting coal to politicians and the general public. And of course they are deploying their biggest assets, WV Gov. Joe Manchin, to take their message to the highest levels. Manchin is currently vice-chair of the National Governor's Association, and is scheduled to become chairman in July. To counter the pressure of big money, lobbyists and compromised politicians, we need to grow our movements and push the envelope with tactics and strategies that stop the destruction as well as nationalize the issue.

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