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We all know that coal is an important part of West Virginia history, but I and many young people feel it should be just that. History.

The coal industry exploited many West Virginians and had numerous negative health consequences both for the people mining and those who live near coal plants, as they are terrible for the environment. With new research in renewable energy sources, there should be a shift away from fossil fuel energy. With recent upgrades to John Amos, Mountaineer, and Mitchell coal-fired generating plants in West Virginia, it is obvious that our government is continuing to feed into an industry that is bad for the health of its people and the health of this planet.

As a young person, I fear that our Earth will become unlivable both for myself and my future children and their future children. There needs to be a switch to sustainable energy sooner rather than later. However, this is not likely to happen when the coal industry is able to pay off our constituents to vote in their favor. This is why it is important that senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito do everything in their power to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and get dark money out of politics so that I and other young people can have a say in the future of our nation.

Rayen Ciccolella


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