The West Virginia Coal Association is siding with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in an election dominated by a debate over this leading state industry.
The coal group’s political action committee has endorsed Manchin, a Democrat, over Republican John Raese.
A Morgantown business owner, Raese argues Manchin is part of an anti-coal conspiracy that includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
West Virginia is the nation’s second-leading provider of coal. But production has recently slowed, with mines shutting down and laying off workers.
The association considers Manchin the best choice during uncertain times. It’s calling Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin West Virginia’s team, saying they’re among the nation’s strongest and most effective leaders supporting coal.
The group endorsed Tomblin earlier. Its members account for 97 percent of the state’s coal production.