BEALLSVILLE - Mitt Romney took to the podium Wednesday, steps away from the entrance to American Energy Corporation's Century Mine during a campaign rally Tuesday.
The Republican presidential candidate was surrounded by hundreds of miners from both Century and nearby Ohio Valley Coal, some freshly off the elevator, still covered in soot after finishing their shift.
It was only natural for the presumptive GOP nominee to hit on the topic of the coal industry, a major player in the Ohio Valley's economy.
Photos provided by Scott McCloskey
ABOVE:?Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, flanked by a group of coal miners, discusses the nation's need for a real energy policy during a campaign stop Tuesday at American Energy Corp.'s Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio.
And hit he did, taking numerous issues with the policies and opinions of President Barack Obama on the subject.
"He says we're adding jobs in the coal industry. How can you go out and tell things that aren't true," Romney said. "If you don't believe in coal and energy independence, then say it.
"If you believe in wind and solar energy, say it. It's time to tell people what you believe."
According to some employment figures, however, coal jobs are up.
Ohio's neighbor to the east, West Virginia, more than any other state, is synonymous with the coal industry.
According to figures from Work Force West Virginia, there were 22,700 jobs statewide in the coal industry in 2011. That is the highest total since 1995.
Romney later went on to reiterate his five goals to accomplish if he becomes president. The first dealt with energy so again, he returned to the topic of coal.
"I want to take advantage of our energy resources coal, gas, oil, renewable energy, nuclear energy we have 250 years of coal, why not use it," Romney said. "I want to take advantage of energy resources I'm for all of the above, whether above or below ground."
He further added that, "At the end of my second term hopefully there is a first and second I make this commitment that we will have North American energy independence.
"We won't have to buy oil from Venezuela and the Middle East."
Many cheered, but not all in attendance were buying what the GOP candidate was selling.
Ed Good is the former president of the Belmont County Democratic Party and is currently a highly active member of its neighborhood team, as well as a 30-plus year member of the Utility Workers of America.
He feels a lot of the information in the Romney campaign is uninformative and incorrect.
Good pointed out the True Cost of Coal Act of 2012, a piece of legislation drafted by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).
McDermott introduced the bill to address concerns about an estimated 175 million tons of coal that is anticipated to travel by rail through Washington state and to the harbors for exportation. The bill would call for a $10 per ton tax with the funds going to help state and local governments address any related issues stemming from said transportation of coal. It also provides for proper covering of the coal being transported to curtail dust.
Good's thinking was that if the current administration had its sights set squarely upon the coal industry, this type of legislation would be deemed unnecessary.
"The point is, if there is a war on coal, why draft legislation to tax this type of tonnage of coal? It has to be mined. It has to come from somewhere," Good said.
The remaining "Big Four:"
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