I knew I’d found the right room in the Charleston Civic Center when I turned the corner and heard the familiar voice of Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. He was saying something about how long the climate change bill was and how he didn’t think anybody in the House of Representatives had read it before they voted on it.
So, I passed by the coffee and cookies and quietly slipped into the room. Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton said something about it being an “exclusive” event. But they’ve got to expect the riffraff to show up if they promote these things on their Web site. The announcement I saw said the event was “in further pursuit to better understand the overwhelmingly complex issue of ‘cap & trade’ and urged Coal Association members and supporters from the state Business and Industry Council to attend. And as I grabbed a seat off to the side, I saw familiar faces: Steve Walker of Walker Machinery, Arch Coal lobbyist John Snider, coal operator Andrew Jordon, GOP political operative (and friend of Don Blankenship) Greg Thomas, and Tim Mallen and Jeri Matheny of American Electric Power.