July 17, 2009

West Virginia's State Rock

This may be old news to some, but it's a somewhat comical and simultaneously sad. Imagine if South Carolina's state rock was Coal rather than Rose Quartz.

The New York Times
Green Inc.
West Virginia's New State Rock
Kate Galbraith

June 9, 2009

Coal has become the official rock of West Virginia.

Last week. Gov. Joe Manchin signed a resolution (text) giving the rock its new status, and declaring that the bituminous coal industry “remains essential to economic growth and progress in West Virginia and the United States.”

The resolution, which passed the state’s house of delegates 96-0 and was approved by the State Senate in a voice vote, also traces the noble history of the rock, from the time George Washington noted a “coal hill of fire” in what became West Virginia.

The Mountain State joins Kentucky and Utah, both of which have had coal as
their state mineral and state rock, respectively, for more than a decade.

The West Virginia movement was started, according to the West Virginia Coal Association, by a high school student who was a coal miner’s daughter.

“I realized the state didn’t have an official state rock,” the high school senior, Britnee Gibson, told the association, “and I thought, what better to be the state rock than coal?”

The resolution comes as the state’s coal industry encounters tough times, with some residents in West Virginia protesting the blasting of mountaintops to remove it.

The recession, too, has dampened demand for electricity, such that Consol Energy, a big coal company operating in the state, recently announced that it was idling two West Virginia mines.

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