There is value in walking in someone else’s shoes. And while U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh wasn’t exactly fit for a day’s work at the Ohio County’s underground coal mine, which he visited Wednesday, hopefully he’s learned a little more about the people whose livelihoods are at risk, when the wrong decisions are made during the transition and diversification of our energy portfolio and economy.
Walsh was invited by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., to tour American Consolidated Natural Resources’ Golden Ridge Portal Mine near Wheeling. After the visit, Walsh said the Biden government is not an enemy of the coal industry.
“I felt like it was really important for me to go downstairs and get a feel for what miners are doing.” Walsh told our reporter. “I have a different understanding and a different appreciation of the work.”
Understanding and appreciation are fine, but will they translate into a little common sense and compassion as you develop guidelines?
Manchin used the event to discuss the impact of the $ 1 trillion Infrastructure Bill with Walsh and his desire to ensure the coal communities are not left behind (again) as Washington, DC moves forward with new guidelines.
“I’ve always said that the transition to a cleaner energy future must come through innovation, not elimination, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate will do just that.” said Manchin.
But Walsh chose his words carefully.
“The President has goals of CO2 neutrality and alternative energy sources” he said. “Of course these conversations have to take place. We have an industry that people work in. They also worry about the future of their industry. “
Those who work in the coal industry are concerned about the future of their industry as the bureaucrats and politicians who make decisions in DC never will. But give Walsh credit for making the journey underground and learning a thing or two. Now we hope he will carry this understanding with him long enough to pass it on to those in the Biden government who really need it.
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