Yesterday's letters to the editor page featured a long letter from Murray Energy spokesperson Gary M. Broadbent as a response to a column written by the Vice-Chair of the WV Democratic Party, Chris Regan. Here's Broadbent's second paragraph:
Mr. Regan, in his attacks on state officials, both private, such as Mr. Robert E. Murray, and political, including Senate President Bill Cole, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, makes it harder for these committed individuals to help the people of West Virginia.
Unless I'm badly misreading this sentence, Broadbent appears to be saying that Murray is a state official. If true, that explains a lot of what's been happening in Charleston.
In his long letter-to-the-editor, Broadbent tells us without citing any evidence that each mining job creates 6.4 non-mining jobs. In the past, especially last year when Robert Murray toured the local service organizations, we were consistently told that that the figure was 11 non-mining jobs for each coal job. (See here and here for starters.) I have researched these statistics in the past and I have been unable to find any evidence to support either number despite CEO Murray saying at one point that his figure came from a study at Penn State University. What I did find was that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis puts it at 4.4 indirect jobs which is similar to a study by the University of Massachusetts Political Economy and Research Institute.
Just a suggestion, but if Murray Energy and Broadbent are going to use undocumented statistics, they would do well to at least be consistent -- that way it doesn't appear that they were pulled out of the air or from wherever.
In putting together the links for this blog post I found something else that was telling. I was able to quickly find Broadbent's letter to the editor on the Intelligencer/News-Register website but Regan's column is nowhere to be found despite the fact that it was an actual column rather than a letter to the editor and its not very old. You can find Regan's column here at his website and if you look closely you'll see something else that you won't see on the Intelligencer site - links to the sources of his information.