THREE MILE CURVE, W.Va. — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined representatives of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Hatfield and McCoy Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Human Resources Development Foundation (HRDF) in Logan County September 23 to present a million dollar check to help displaced miners get back into the workforce.
The group gathered at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center for the presentation of the funds to the HRDF.
West Virginia Cabinet Secretary for the DEP Randy Huffman explained the funds came from taxes and fees collected for solid waste disposal, so the money must be used for cleanups and litter disposal.
“Specifically, the source of the money is from your tax dollars. It’s the solid waste assessment fee that is paid for the disposal of our garbage. This money has to be targeted for garbage cleanup, solid waste disposal and those kinds of activities,” noted Huffman.
The funds will be used to employee up to 30 workers at a living wage for one year.
Displaced miners, their families and veterans will receive priority placement in the positions which will focus on cleaning rivers and streams in Logan, Mingo and Boone counties.
Tombin noted the Guyandotte River is one more piece of the tourism puzzle for the Coalfields saying, “I was very pleased to see Logan Groups were coming together and cleaning up the sections of the Guyandotte. With the event… a couple weeks ago, the Woods and Water [Festival], there was good turnout for that. It’s a different kind of activity for Logan County and all of our towns here.”
Logan City Clerk Amber Viars added, “I’m honored Governor Tomblin mentioned seeing the Woods and Water Festival in the paper. The City of Logan teamed up with local businesses owned by Jack Baisden and Laura Moore for the festival, and it just means a lot to us because we were already on the same page before this even happened. There is a real love of and demand for the the Guyandotte River, and I know the new funds will only grow the river’s draw for locals and tourists.”
Tomblin also explained how the HRDF was put in place to help employ displaced minors; however, the group’s federal funding was running out.
The million dollar infusion will be used by the HRDF to keep unemployed minors working to beautify the Coalfields and increase the draw for tourism to the area.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]