Protesters Rally at W.Va. Governor's Mansion

By: Katelyn Sykes Email
By: Katelyn Sykes Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The future of coal in the Mountain State -- one group is calling it a dying industry, and they want to know what state leaders are doing to plan for the future.

On Wednesday, protesters with RAMPS knocked on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s door demanding answers. They told that Tomblin said his door would always be open. That's why they say they decided to knock on it to find out what his plans are for the coal industry, an industry they said is disappearing.

Coal -- it's a hot issue in West Virginia. From layoffs to declining demand, it’s no question things are changing. But those changes are sparking questions, and one environmentalist group is looking for answers.

"We just wanted to have an honest and open dialogue with Tomblin because we all have to acknowledge the thousand pound elephant in the room that coal is declining in Appalachia,” said Dustin Steele with RAMPS. “And we have to have an open and sustainable development in an economy that's going to replace coal because coal is leaving."

About 35 protesters with RAMPS, or Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival, tried to deliver a letter about their concerns to Tomblin at the Governor’s Mansion. When he wasn’t there, they took the letter to his office.

"They were very respectful,” said Randy Mayhew, director of police at the West Virginia Capitol. “They just wanted to get a message to the governor and upon doing that they left the property."

They left with the same questions they had when they came.

"What's your plan for the future of southern West Virginia that's carried America's electricity needs on it's back for 125 years?” Steele said. “No politicians will give us any answers about what's their plan for economic development." tried to get in contact with someone at the governor’s office to get their response on the protest but hasn’t heard back.

A number of state police troopers were also called to the Capitol during the protest but Capitol Police said it was only a precaution.

To read a copy of the letter go to:

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