Coal Tattoo


West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has scheduled what sounds like an “all-hands-on-deck” meeting of his coal industry friends for next week … Among the list of those invited and apparently likely to attend:

— Massey Energy President Don Blankenship, CONSOL Energy CEO Brett Harvey, International Coal Group President Ben Hatfield, top officials from a dozen other coal companies, and various lobbyists from the West Virginia Coal Association.

— U.S. Reps. Nick Rahall and Shelley Moore Capito, along with representatives of Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller.

— County commissioners from Kanawha, Boone, Logan, Lincoln and Mingo counties.

— Joe Carter and Ted Hapney from the United Mine Workers of America union.

— Manchin’s chief of staff,  DEP Secretary Randy Huffman and three other of Manchin’s cabinet secretaries.

Matt Turner, Manchin’s communications director, said officials from some of West Virginia’s southern coal counties asked the governor to “put together a meeting to discuss the economic impact of coal. “

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday.  So far, I haven’t been able to find out exactly where. It seems the public isn’t invited — and you’ll notice that nobody from the environmental community is on the list, either.

Nobody on the list like Michael Hendryx, the WVU professor whose research shows that coal costs Appalachia more than it provides in economic benefits, or from the Sierra Club, which published a report showing that limits on mountaintop removal aren’t the end of the world for the state’s economy.

You think anyone at the meeting will bring up the fact that the cap-and-trade bill is estimated to cost the average American household less than 50 cents a day?  Will they talk about how the costs of inaction on climate change outweigh the costs of trying to fix the problem?