Coal On The Skids
Article By Chuck Wyrostok (email@example.com)
Photos from February 14, 2002 Overweight Coal
Truck Rally by Vivian Stockman (photos at end of article)
You can really tell when an outdated concept is on the
slippery slope. Desperate logic and admissions of guilt
surface. Consider some of the testimony at the House
Judiciary Sub-Committee on overweight coal trucks this week.
Coal said if they cant continue to break the law (they
verbally admitted this), then many jobs would be lost. Well,
it seems like drug dealers could make the same case. So
could the mafia. Maybe Ill try using that line next time
I get pulled over for speeding on my way to a job site:
Officer, Im sorry, but Im late for an important
appointment and I CANT AFFORD TO OBEY THE LAW!". . .
Apparently, theyve been breaking the law for decades.
Chuck Bradley is a truck dealer whose company sells trucks
he says can safely haul 139,000 pounds. For years, he said,
coal trucks have hauled 165,000 to 175,000 pounds. This
is a practice we have done for many, many years, he told
the legislators. Now that coal is being forced to deal with
it because of a string of highway fatalities, they have come
to the legislature with a demand: Let us carry heavier loads
so we can remain competitive and we will accept heavier
enforcement of the new weight rules. Enforcement indeed!
Where has enforcement been all this time? Drivers are caught
in the middle, really, being forced to haul dangerously
heavy loads that many of them admit is more weight than they
would like to carry. Coal area resident Freda Williams put
it in perspective, saying to haulers wouldnt you check
out the legal weights before buying your trucks?
Heavier weight limits? I dont think so! Not with my
tax dollars paying for roads in WV. A state Division of
Highways report issued last month said that if you took the
2,684 miles of state roads on which coal is hauled and
created a 20-year upgrade plan to handle trucks carrying
those heavier loads, it would cost AT LEAST $2.8 BILLION!
House Judiciary Chairman Jon Amores, DKanawha, seems to be
afflicted with the same twisted logic. He said To leave
the weight limit where it is would be to keep our head in
the sand on the economic arguments. It would put truckers
and the coal industry at risk. To ignore that wouldnt be
discharging our responsibility to create good law. Well,
Delegate Amores, what about your responsibility to people
driving those roads in little cars. What about the all those
poor crushed lives, all those broken-hearted families? Could
we get a comment on that from you?
Hundreds of residents, union members, environmentalists,
law enforcement officers, county commissioners and state
legislators gathered on the steps of the capitol Thursday
afternoon to rally in support of upholding current law.
While coal field residents held up tiny crosses with the
names of dead coal truck crash victims, UMWA President Cecil
Roberts, Delegate Mike Caputo, Attorney General Darrell
McGraw and others spoke of the need to rein in the outlaw
attitude that operates outside the realm of civilized
The balmy sunshine of the day seemed to carry a ray of
hope, toward a day when law would rule and people could feel
comfortable driving the roads of their neighborhoods again.
Please imagine this carnage going on in your part of West
Virginia and then contact the delegates from House Judiciary
Committee and demand that they be JUDICIOUS! If you live in
any of their districts, be sure to let them know you are a
constituent. Members are Jon Amores (Chairman), Dale Manuel,
Larry Faircloth, Mike Caputo (our champion), Tom Coleman,
Kevin Craig, Joe Ferrell, Barbara Fleischauer, Roy Givens,
Lidella Wilson Hrutkay, Ginny Mahan,Dave Pethtel, John Pino,
Joe F.Smith, Sharon Spencer, William Stemple, Richard
Thompson, Carrie Webster, Randy White, Mark Wills, Tim
Armstead, Dale Riggs, Robert Schadler, Jody Smirl and
Charles Rusty Webb.
Coal lobbyists want our sympathy as they destroy roads,
bridges and lives while their CEOs rake in salaries and
bonuses of MILLIONS of dollars. Give me a break! If you
cant stay competitive while obeying the law, it seems
like theres something wrong with your business plan. This
is not Podunk Hollow anymore, boys. You are wearing us out
with this sad, sad argument. Enough! BAD DOG! BAD DOG!
"Greed, intimidation, callous disregard for life and
laws and a heartless indifference to the well-being of the
citizens and workers of the state have been pillars of the
industry. It is time for the governor and the Legislature to
put people before profit."
Bill McCabe, organizer with Citizens Coal Council
Photos from February 14, 2002 Overweight Coal Truck Rally
at the Statehouse in Charleston, WV.