If you believe the enviros, the coal companies are evil.
They purposefully pollute the water.
They love blowing up these wonderful "tourism" areas.
They rape and pillage and just plain hate West Virginia.
With all the flooding in southern West Virginia, who has come to the rescue?
Nope, not the enviros.
You see, the enviros for the most part don't live in Southern West Virginia. They drive down to Southern West Virginia when the time is convenient. Or they drive down there and dip their toe in the stream so that they can claim to be "harmed." They, then quickly scurry away.
Nope, you know who REALLY cares about Southern West Virginia?
The people who live there.
And, you know who the people who live there work for? That's right, many work for the coal companies.
THAT'S why you see the coal companies, big and small, mobilized and put their manpower and equipment into action to help the people of Southern West Virginia dig out. (you know the people there, the ones the enviros claim the companies are trying to kill). The coal companies are there days before the National Guard can mobilize and get their heavy equipment into Southern West Virginia.
I'm guessing instead of standing up to their knees in muck the enviros are actually trying to figure out a way to pin these floods on the coal companies (you always have to love giving coal companies the blame when the rains pour down).
The enviros are preparing lawsuits while the coal companies are actually digging Southern West Virginia out of the mud.
But, the thanks the companies will get for all their help?
A swift kick in the patootie when it comes to the next environmental regulation.
Or a swift kick in the wallet when a new tax is needed.
Look, not all coal companies are angels. There are bad players in the industry, just like in any industry. But, the vast, vast, vast majority of coal companies care about Southern West Virginia. Why? Because they live there. Because they shop there. Because they are family and neighbors and co-habitants. They hunt and fish on the very land the enviros accuse them of trying to destroy.
And, more importantly, when the enviros are sitting at home in Charleston or Parkersburg, or New York City when the ravages of floods hit West Virginia, the coal miners and the coal mining companies are the ones up to their knees in the muck of a flood helping dig out their neighbors and friends and family members.
I'm guessing the enviros will never, ever understand.
Sprouse is the former Minority Leader of the West Virginia Senate and currently owns a consulting company in Charleston.