Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

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This LTE originally provided by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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March 12, 2006

W.Va. can take pride in its surface mining industry

Your Feb. 26 story on environmental activists' "struggles" against West Virginia's coal mining industry was an incredibly distorted piece of writing. Your headline -- "Almost Flat, West Virginia" -- is a ludicrous, misguided attempt to be cute. The story carries a Charleston, W.Va., dateline, but the headline makes the Post-Gazette look as if its writer never left Pittsburgh.

The story itself is more of the same. It is stacked heavily against a modern and responsible industry that is supplying the United States with more than 50 percent of its energy needs.

The activist group in West Virginia can be noisy at times, but it is small. The Post-Gazette, however, chose to quote a host of individuals decrying surface mining, while dedicating only five paragraphs to the defense of the industry.

As I told the reporter during our phone interview, the truth is that less than 1 percent of West Virginia's land has been disturbed in any way by mining. And the majority of the land that has been touched has been reconstituted in a way that allows people to use and enjoy the land.

Pristine, undisturbed land is sometimes commendable. But there is great merit in providing good jobs, raising families and supplying the country with its most reliable energy source and, in the end, reconstructing rural lands in ways that nurture development, sustain the surrounding environment and please most people. West Virginia coal miners are proud of making that happen.

Pittsburgh, please call and come take a look at what we're doing. I believe you will like it.

BILL RANEY
President
West Virginia Coal Association
Charleston, W.Va.

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