In a font-size worthy of the end of a war or a new Clinton revelation by Republicans, the front page of this morning's Intelligencer tells us the shocking news that "Opinion's Differ on W.Va's Outlook." Two articles by Casey Junkins flow from the headline: "Drilling Industry Is Boosting Economy" and "'Sense of Urgency' Needed, Others Say." Each story features near life-size pictures of a speaker from the West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference held yesterday at the Wheeling Island Casino. The first picture is of Joe Eddy who is president of Eagle Manufacturing and the second is of _____. (I'll pause here to allow the regular readers of the Intelligencer/News-Register who have not seen today's front page to guess who that might be. Hint #1 - everything this person does or says is deemed "newsworthy" by the Wheeling "newspapers." Hint #2 - his picture was last seen on the front page of Tuesday's 2nd section.) Of course, it's Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy.
The "Drilling Industry" story did present some relevant news as the article featured a WVU business researcher, John Deskins, along with Eddy. Deskins also provided insight into WV's unemployment problem in the "Sense of Urgency" article. The second half of that article, however, is devoted to covering the thoughts of Robert Murray - including some we've read before: Obama is killing coal and, of course, his frequently-used, undocumented assertion that "one coal mining job" supports "12 related jobs." (Back in April, I researched this - it was "11 related jobs" back then. The sources I found put the number at somewhere between 4 and 7. I could find no support, even from other coal companies, for a higher number.) Murray also made it personal by suggesting that the EPA was after him:
I'm in their crosshairs: my family, my grandchildren.
Finally, Murray also blamed state taxes for coal's problems:
Coal mined in West Virginia is taxed at 10 times what it is in other states, and some have no tax at all, such as Pennsylvania.
I did some research on these assertions, and could find nothing to support the "10 times" assertion. I also found that the states have a number of ways to tax coal. Pennsylvania does not have a coal severance tax but appears to get its share of taxes from coal. Regardless, Murray is free to say whatever he wants because he knows that the local "newspapers" will never fact-check him on even the wildest of his assertions.