To the editor:
For those of us in Southeast and Eastern Ohio, the coal industry has always been a way of life. Our fathers, grandfathers or sons have worked in the mines. Maybe we knew a neighbor or former classmate who worked at one of the many power plants that operate along our river. The economic impact, much like the coal itself, runs as a vein through our communities. This is our industry and right now it is under attack.
When I was in Washington I fought to protect our coal industry. Burdensome EPA regulations impact more than just our mines. Overregulation is an assault on our local economy, property values and ultimately endanger our children's schools. What Washington bureaucrats fail to realize is that when one mine is closed, the entire community pays the price.
I fought in Washington - sponsoring HR 6113, a bill that would block the EPA from using federal funding to shutdown Appalachian mines. I stood up to my own party and voted against the disastrous Cap and Trade Bill that would apply an energy tax and have devastating affects on our power plants and ultimately our mining operations. I took this vote not as a Democrat but as a congressman who was sent to Washington by his constituents to represent their best interests.
My family has operated a small business in Belmont County for 114 years. Among my earliest memories was riding with my father, who operated our local ambulance, to carry injured miners to the hospital. What outsiders fail to understand is that mining is a part of our entire community, not just a community unto itself. The war on coal is a war on our way of life.
I am proud to have the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America and will continue to work to eliminate EPA overregulation when I return to Washington.
(Editor's note: Wilson is a candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio's 6th Congressional District.)