WHEELING - House Speaker John Boehner was joined by Ohio's Republican House members in Wheeling Saturday night to speak out against the "war on coal" and raise money for Republican campaign efforts in 2014.
Robert E. Murray, chief executive officer of Murray Energy Corp., hosted the event at Wheeling Park's White Palace. The fundraiser was private and closed to the media.
As they arrived, the congressional members said Ohio's Republican delegation in the U.S. House was solidly behind the coal industry.
FUNDRAISER — Belmont County Northern Division Court Judge Frank Fregiato, left; former Ohio Republican senator Jim Carnes of St. Clairsville; and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, arrive for a Republican fundraiser Saturday night at Wheeling Park’s White Palace hosted by Robert E. Murray, chief executive officer for the Murray Energy Corp. - Joselyn King
"It's no secret the coal industry needs a true all-the-above energy policy," said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta. "What I hope to hear from Speaker Boehner tonight is that we're going to stop playing politics, and using politics to shut the coal industry down. The president continues to cater to the environmental left. Energy prices are skyrocketing, and we have to keep up the fight."
U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeview, noted "coal is an affordable and reliable source of energy," and the nation already has done much to clean up the environment.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"Coal is an important part of the solution to the nation's energy problems, and this administration clearly has a war on coal," Latta said. "We want to make coal a source for the nation's energy for years to come."
U.S. Rep. David Joyce, R-Russell Township, noted he came to the event to support Murray's efforts to keep the coal industry viable, and added Murray is "doing great things for America."
"This area is the Saudi Arabia of coal," said Rep. Steve Stivers. "Why would we not want to use it?"
Other Republican House members from Ohio slated to attend were Reps. Steve Chabot, Patrick J. Tiberi, Michael Turner, Jim Jordan, James B. Renacci and Brad Wenstrup. The event also brought out others involved in politics and the coal industry.
"I know Speaker Boehner and the Republican delegation are strongly behind supporting coal," said former Republican state Sen. Jim Carnes of St. Clairsville, who also serves as president of the Cravat Coal Co. "I hope the speaker talks about putting pressure on the EPA, and allowing a balance where people can continue to make a living."
Belmont County Republican Party Chairman Kent Moore said "there definitely is a war on coal" in America.
"Coal is an industry vital to the Ohio Valley, and there needs to be come common sense in how we approach it," he said.
Robert Connors, spokesman for "We the People-Ohio Valley," said much is happening in the nation with regards to environmental regulations and there impact on the coal industry. He added he turned out for the event to see how Boehner would address the issue.
"I want him to stand up for the coal industry," Connors said. "Fifty-percent of the electricity produced in this country comes from coal. There is a serious issue, and we have to go after it."