By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was presented on Wednesday with the Washington Coal Club’s 2013 Annual Achievement Award.
The award is given to “an individual or individuals who have recently made a meaningful contribution to the health and sustainability of the larger coal community.”
Manchin currently serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He is also chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining, and serves on the Subcommittee on Energy.
In a statement, Manchin voiced his support for the work done by the WCC.
“The Washington Coal Club is vital to the future of coal production,” Manchin said. “It is a pleasure to be able to work with the club so closely on fighting for our coal heritage, our coal industry and our hardworking coal miners.”
Manchin has argued for achieving energy independence in the United States within one generation, and has often criticized the Obama administration for a “war on coal.”
Manchin said that through his work on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to create “an all-of-the-above energy portfolio that accepts coal is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a major part of our energy mix.”
Other West Virginians who have previously been given the award include Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.
The club also gave out two Senator Jennings Randolph Lifetime Achievement Awards. The award was named for late state Democrat Jennings Randolph, who served in the House of Representatives from 1933 to 1947 and the Senate from 1958 to 1985. The award aims to recognize “individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the utilization of coal as a reliable and secure national energy resource,” the WCC stated.
The lifetime achievement awards were granted to Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., and West Virginia University’s Richard A. Bajura. Bajura is the director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, and is also a member of the WCC’s board of directors.
“Our research at WVU has been dedicated to developing technologies that make coal cleaner, from mining it to using it to create power and transportation fuels,” Bajura said. “I am honored to receive this award as a reflection of the outstanding researchers with whom I have had the privilege to work.”
WCC president Rick Axthelm said in a statement that the three award recipients “all share a common threat of having contributed mightily to the growth and sustainability of the coal industry, and the well-being of its workforce.”
The Washington Coal Club is a Washington D.C.-based not-for-profit organization. It was formalized in 1981, and has more than 300 members who include academics, policy makers, coal producers and transporters, and members of associations interested in coal and the American economy.
Email Colleen S. Good at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.