FACES of Coal campaign launches in Charleston

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 20, 2009

State Sen. Roman Prezioso speak at the Aug. 19 press conference on the importance of coal West Virginia and the nation. (Courtesy photos)

Representatives from the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority show the Eastern Kanawha County Ambulance purchased entirely through coal severance tax funds. The ssign on back of ambulance says, "This Vehicle Purchased Using Coal Severance Tax Fund."

CHARLESTON -- The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal) has launched its FACES of Coal campaign to promote the economic benefits and community resources that coal generates for residents in Appalachia and, specifically, West Virginia.

Dozens of participants from various backgrounds inaugurated the grassroots movement at a press conference held at the Charleston Area Alliance Building.

"Look around this room and you see first responders, teachers, small businesspeople, people from every walk of life", State Senator Roman Prezioso said during the Aug. 19 press conference. "Why did they come? They came because they realize coal produces jobs; coal produces a tax base that supports our infrastructure; coal pays for playgrounds and makes energy rates more affordable. They know the truth and want to make sure others know it as well."

FACES of Coal is an alliance of individuals from all walks of life who have joined forces to educate lawmakers and the general public about the importance of coal and coal mining to our local and national economies. Some 70 different organizations and individuals representing a broad cross-section of people and communities throughout the Appalachian region are the coalition's first members. Any individual, business or organization can join FACES of Coal.

"The benefits of coal reach deep into our communities," said Vivian Parsons, Executive Director of the County Commissioners' Association of West Virginia. "While not all counties in West Virginia produce coal, all counties receive a share of the coal severance tax. These funds are used to shore up county budgets and provide necessary services to our citizens."

The alliance grew out of a deep concern shared by business and community leaders in the region that outside groups are determined to end coal mining in Appalachia. They worry that pressure from radical groups, combined with arbitrary government delays of mining permits, will result in severe job cuts, local and state government budget crises, and increased dependence on foreign countries for America's energy supply.

The FACES of Coal campaign aims to encourage people to speak out and stand up for their jobs and their future. The group's Web site –- www.facesofcoal.org -– provides background information about coal and coal mining, as well as access to direct links to elected representatives in state capitals and in Washington, and the local news media.

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