Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 27, 2013

Attorney General Morrisey holds town hall meetings in region

BLUEFIELD — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey spent Thursday and Friday traveling through the state’s southernmost counties, talking with people, listening and learning.

“Of course, this is absolutely beautiful country, so it’s a great place to visit,” Morrisey said during a brief stop at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph Friday afternoon. “I wanted to spend time in Wyoming and McDowell counties talking about issues that are critical to the people. I also spent time talking about the different ways the attorney general’s office can work to serve the people.”

It didn’t take him a long time to focus on issues that are important to the people, but possibly misunderstood by people who don’t live in the remote mountains of McDowell and Wyoming counties.

“The issue that I learned was important to the people is the lack of good cell service,” Morrisey said. “That is not an issue that the attorney general’s office deals with, but I came to understand how important it is to people during my visit. While I can’t address that issue directly from my office, I can sure talk about it when I meet with people who do have that responsibility. In this period of time, not having effective and consistent cell service is a major problem.”

As Morrisey expected, he did hear a great deal about the impact that a variety of recent actions by the federal environmental Protection Agency has had on the coal mining industry and on jobs. He said that his office has been challenging recent EPA rulings that have had an adverse impact on coal-fired power plants in the state.

“I know we’re not going to win every fight against the EPA, but we have to continue working to keep them in check,” he said. “We are working to provide confidence that the coal industry does have a future. The EPA’s batting average hasn’t been as good as the state’s average. Coal should always remain an important part of our state’s heritage and its future.

“I think every West Virginian cares about clean air, clean water and the esthetic beauty of our mountain scenery,” Morrisey said. “It’s also a critical part of our heritage.”

Morrisey said that the battle against substance abuse is, “the top issue in our office,” he said. “Our office has a five-person task force that is working to fight substance abuse and prescription drug abuse. I know that other agencies also consider this as a priority. We’re looking to find where our efforts can add the most value.”

Morrisey said that he appreciates the drug take back program that can put a lot of drugs out of the reach of drug abusers.

“Our consumer protection staff can work to educate the public. If we can save just one life, it is worth the effort. Future generations of West Virginians need us to do this work.”

Morrisey vowed to continue holding similar town hall style meetings throughout the state to learn more about the issues that important to the citizens.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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