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Romney talks coal in Virginia

MITT Romney took Appalachian coal country by storm Friday when he visited a Caterpillar dealer in southern Virginia to tout its benefits.

Donna Schmidt
Romney talks coal in Virginia

“I don’t believe in putting our coal underground forever," Romney told a crowd of about 3000 at Carter Machinery in Abingdon.

“I believe we should take advantage of it and put good workers back to work...it’s abundant and cheap, and can be burned in a clean way.”

The comments are music to the ears of industry supporters following the so-called “war on coal” waged by President Barack Obama and his administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.

Many have, in fact, rallied with Romney since the debate last week in which he said, “By the way…I like coal.”

Romney was introduced to the crowd at Friday’s rally by Alpha Natural Resources chief executive officer Kevin Crutchfield. Crutchfield recently made the painful announcement that the company would lay off 1200 workers and close eight mines in three Appalachian states.

“I want a president whose energy policy isn’t based on hand-picking winners and hand-picking losers," he said, according to regional newspaper the Times-News.

“I want a president who understands we need all of the above and actually means that, and knows that coal has and will continue to fuel American progress."

Once on stage before the large crowd, Romney said that he advocated the development of all energy resources for America’s energy independence, a goal he wanted to attain in eight years.

“If we’re really serious about energy, we should take advantage of the energy resources we have...we could create three-and-a-half to four million jobs," he said.

Following the event, US representative Morgan Griffith said that Romney’s appearance would benefit him in that region of southwest Virginia come election time.

"I think most folks who support coal understand we have to have a Republican Senate and Republican president, or Obama will win the war on coal if we don’t win in November," the Virginia republication said.

US voters will head to the polls in a month, on November 6.

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