Coal workers, their families and a handful of lawmakers gathered Tuesday near the U.S. Capitol to protest Washington’s so-called “war on coal.”
Surrounded by signs protesting government overreach and shouting over fiery speeches from lawmakers representing coal country, TheBlaze asked attendees what they’d say if they were given a chance to speak face-to-face to Washington’s leaders.
The responses, though varied, had a common theme: Get off our back.
9. Stop Messing With American Businesses
“I was in health care for almost 18 years,” rally attendee Shane told TheBlaze. “But I left after the government decided it wanted to f— with that. So I got into coal. There was money.”
“But now the government is f—ing with that,” he added, smiling broadly.
8. Leave Coal Alone
Two miners from West Virginia were a little more tempered in their responses.
“Seriously, leave coal alone,” Frank Ward said. “Things are tough enough already. We don’t need government stepping in and shutting us down and putting us all out of jobs. How about we keep some Americans working?”
7. Washington Is Anti-Coal!
Ward’s son, Frank Ward III, chimed in: “It’s a war on our way of life.”
“They’re good jobs. These are jobs we like. We just feel like Washington has it in for us,” Ward III said.
6. Coal Affects a Lot of People
One attendee from Pennsylvania raised a separate set of concerns.
“I don’t think (lawmakers) understand that by hurting the coal industry, they’re going to hurt a lot of other industries,” Susan Leap told TheBlaze. “Coal is energy and we provide for a lot of other industries. Think about the cost of business for people like truckers.”
5. The EPA Needs to Get Off Our Backs
Bob Harker of Pennsylvania was more fired up when TheBlaze asked what message he had for U.S. lawmakers.
“People complain that coal is dirty and that we’re hurting the planet. Funny thing is, things like the (Environmental Protection Agency) won’t let us clean up. We want to be cleaner and greener. They’re not interested. They’re interested in shutting us down,” Harker said.
“I’ve been in this business for 39 years and I’ve never been laid off. I think that’s great,” he added. “But with some of these new rules, they’re going to get me fired. Just leave coal alone.”