Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., became the first-ever freshman member of Congress to be named a recipient of the Annual Achievement Award by the prestigious Washington Coal Club (WCC) on Wednesday.
McKinley was honored due to his strong advocacy for the continued use of coal alongside House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., according to a news release from McKinley's office. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Dr. Janos Beer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
"It is an honor to have been named a recipient of this award, and I vow to continue my dedication to the coal industry and the West Virginians it employs," McKinley said. "My main focus in Washington is protecting American jobs and that includes standing up for the ‘Forgotten Man' of the coal industry.
"Unfortunately, our government and society have taken this valuable economic resource for granted. Funding cuts for clean coal research and delayed or revoked permits for new mines have drastically threatened one of the biggest contributors to our national economy. In rallying behind this resource, we can create an environment that will allow employers to create jobs again and finally achieve energy independence."
WCC is a nonprofit organization whose members include representatives from the coal, utility and transportation industries as well as energy research institutions and labor unions. Past honorees of the award include West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Jennings Randolph.