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Wayne County, West Virginia Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents.

October 27, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, Governor Jay Rockefeller, who is destined, I believe, because of the deep appreciation of the West Virginia people for what he is and what he has been and what he will do, to be the next Governor of your great State. And I look forward to working with him during the next 4 years.

And I'm also grateful to Jennings Randolph, a man who sets a standard for public service that is an inspiration to us all. As Wendell Ford and Carl Perkins and Nick Joe Rahall and all of us who've served in Washington together know, most of the new ideas that come forward for us to address have already been understood and proposed by Jennings Randolph, because he has his heart close to the people of this Nation. And when there's a real need for better housing, better transportation, better use of coal, better life for the working families of this Nation, Jennings Randolph seems to have a special sensitivity to understand that need and to lead the rest of us in meeting those needs for all.

I'm grateful, too, to have a chance to come here to meet with people from Ohio, particularly Kentucky, because they are represented here by a great Governor and also by a great Senator. And Carl Perkins, a Congressman from across the river, is one of my greatest friends of all.

Let me say that I've spent the last few days thinking about the upcoming debate tomorrow night. As Wendell Ford pointed out, my opponent is not out campaigning among the people; he's trying to decide what role he's going to play in the debate tomorrow night. The problem that I've had in preparing myself for the debate is, which Ronald Reagan am I going to face tomorrow evening on television? Because as the election has progressed and as we get closer and closer to the voting time, he has flip-flopped on almost every conceivable issue depending upon what audience happens to be listening to him at the particular time.

He's been strongly against, even prayed against, aid for New York City, but lately he's been in New York, telling them how much he loves New York. He was against many things for which he now professes to support. Not too long ago, as a matter of fact this October, to the automobile workers in the Chrysler plant, he was telling them how proud he was that the Federal Government, with the help of the people on this stage, had helped Chrysler stay solvent. But that contrasts with the Ronald Reagan of last October, who said he didn't see anything wrong with Chrysler going bankrupt.

I don't know if I'll be debating the Ronald Reagan who now professes to be for safety and health of workers, or one who replied not long ago when somebody said that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ought to be abolished, who stood there and said, "Amen." I don't know if I'll be debating a man of this election campaign who now professes to be for improving the social security system, or one who on at least four different occasions has suggested making social security voluntary, a proposal that would mean the end of a strong and viable social security system.

I don't know if I'm running against a man who opposed selling grain to the Soviet Union last year, or the one who declined this year to support the grain embargo after the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. I don't know if I'm debating a Ronald Reagan who now professes to be for working families, but who's against labor law reform, who's against the Davis-Bacon Act, who said about the minimum wage that it's caused more misery and more unemployment than anything since the Great Depression, and who said just this year again that the primary cause of unemployment was the minimum wage.

I don't know if I'm debating against a man who now professes to be for working families who are temporarily unemployed, or one who said not too long ago that unemployment compensation was just a prepaid vacation for freeloaders. I don't know if I'm debating a man who lately professes to be almost in the image of Franklin Roosevelt, or one who a little earlier said that the foundation for the New Deal was fascism.

I may be having difficulty predicting what Governor Reagan will be saying in this debate, but we all know which Ronald Reagan would sit in the Oval Office if the Republicans win this election. It'll be the same Ronald Reagan who said just a few weeks ago that he hasn't changed his position in the last 20 years, the Ronald Reagan who worked to kill Medicare, who opposes national health insurance, who rejects a decade of progress in nuclear arms control, who wants to scrap the synthetic fuels program, which will take coal from this region and convert it into synthetic fuel, that's the key to breaking the OPEC stranglehold which they formerly had on us.

There's one thing in this election that is certain, though, and I want you to listen very carefully to this, because you've got a good voting record in this area. Republicans always campaign like Democrats. You've heard them. They quote Franklin D. Roosevelt; they quote Harry Truman; they quote John Kennedy; they quote Lyndon Johnson. But think about this question: Have you ever heard a Republican candidate for President quoting a Republican President?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. Never, never. But when they get in the Ova Office, they're just like all the Republican Presidents that have caused hardship and trial and tribulation and forgotten the working families of this country, but they try to mislead you the last few days before the election. That's one thing you can count on. Republicans will govern like Republicans. Don't you forget it on election day.

I want to say just a word about coal. I'm proud to have been able in my administration, working with your Democratic Governors, United States Senators, the Members of Congress, to do more for the coal industry than ever before in the history of this country. Listen to this: We will produce more coal in 1980 than has ever before been produced in the United States of America. We will exceed 800 million tons for the first time, and the trend is in the right direction. This is the first year in our history in which more than 50 percent of all our Nation's electricity has been produced from coal.

Our exports of coal to foreign countries will set an alltime record this year. And we could load millions more tons of coal on ships to be sold overseas if we just had the transportation system and the port loading facilities available for this new demand for coal that's been brought about by the policies of our administration.

In the near future, as you know, you will have an exciting, new, bright life ahead of you as we begin to produce synthetic liquids and gaseous fuels from your coal. We can triple—triple—United States coal production in the next 15 years if we keep Democrats in office to help you. That's where we need your help.

As you know, over the past several weeks, since the Congress has finally passed our new energy policy into law, we've begun to move on our new synthetic fuels program. We've signed historic agreements to help finance and to guarantee the construction of synthetic facilities, including the SRC-1 program in Kentucky and the SRC-2 plant in West Virginia. These major plants will be the forerunner of others in this Nation and will show why 75 percent of the $88 billion in windfall profits tax will go to produce synthetic fuels out of coal.

The American people have to understand, though, and this is an important thing for you to remember, that coal is both a clean fuel and also a safe fuel. If we are ever to achieve our goal for energy security, do not let anyone try to convince .you that the best way to produce and' use more American coal is to lower air quality standards or water quality standards. To do that will turn the American people and the world against coal.

What these men on the platform and I have done, working with Sam Church, the president of the United Mine Workers, is to try to make sure that all the projected increases that I've described to you, all of them, include maintaining the quality of our environment. We do not have to make people choose between jobs and prosperity on one hand and good health and a beautiful America on the other. We can burn coal, let it be the bright new vision of an independent policy in the future, and still keep our air clean and our water clean and our land productive. Do not let anyone mislead you about that, because the best way to turn people against coal is for them to think that we have to lower those standards for air and water quality.

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency extended a plan in Ohio which will allow greater use of coal. This plan sets limits on average emissions over a 30-day period, rather than a daily average. And this will continue on into 1982. This would allow much greater use of Ohio coal.

Also last week the EPA and Armco Steel Company reached agreement on an innovative approach to control air pollution of the Armco plant in Middletown, Ohio. Instead of controlling each individual source, it limits the total pollution emitted from an imaginary bubble over the entire plant. This allows the company to concentrate its cleanup efforts on sources that are the least costly to control. The result is more pollution control per dollar spent. This is the first practical application of this new principle. And now other steel companies throughout the Nation can do the same, reducing pollution control costs and thus raising capital or money to modernize their facilities and to put more people to work.

Just last Friday we announced a grant to finance a coke production plant in Canova, West Virginia. This would not only mean new jobs at the plant when it's finished, but 300 construction jobs and 1,500 miners will go to work now in West Virginia, in Virginia, and in Kentucky.

In order to meet export demand we are going to rebuild our railroads; we are going to improve our highways; we are going to improve our loading facilities at our major seaports. In international energy markets my goal is to replace OPEC oil with West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky coal.

And finally, let me say this: Coal is important for the security of our Nation. Many of you have spent your lives in the coal mines and in the communities surrounded by the mines. You've contributed a lot to the quality of life of other Americans. But it's important, too, to remember the well-being and the health and the safety of the miners and the miners' families, to protect the interests of the mineworkers. Working with President Sam Church and your representatives, we have broadened black lung protection, we've guaranteed mineworkers' pensions, and I've requested extensions of trade adjustment assistance and unemployment benefits so that workers do not have to bear all the hardships as our Nation faces up to rapidly changing economic circumstances and prepares for a brighter economic future.

If American workers have the tools and the training, they can out-produce any workers on Earth. And we're going to give them the tools and training. With a new energy policy as a foundation, we're ready to move into the future and rebuild opportunities for jobs and a brighter and more prosperous life for Americans. At the end of the Second World War, America rebuilt the industry of Germany; America rebuilt the industrial complex of Japan. And now it's time for us to rebuild the industrial complex of the United States of America, and that's what we're going to do. You help me, I'll help you; we'll have a better future in the years ahead if Democrats are in office.

Thank you very much. I'm counting on you. Work this last week.

Note: The President spoke at 1: 24 p.m. at the Tri-State Airport.

Jimmy Carter, Wayne County, West Virginia Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251711

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