Here in the deep south counties, we don’t normally fret over things that are happening in Charleston. The capital city is a good two hours away from Bluefield and separated by three costly toll booths.

Yet an ongoing review of the United State Postal Service’s mail processing facility in Charleston could have a direct impact on the southern West Virginia counties, particularly if the facility is closed and or consolidated with another state.

Lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., and Gov. Jim Justice are all challenging the possible closure.

Area residents may recall that back in 2013 Bluefield’s mail processing facility was closed and consolidated with the Charleston plant, an unfortunate decision that slowed the delivery of mail across our area. Now, if the Charleston plant is closed, it would once again negatively impact mail delivery service both locally and across the state.

Capito on Thursday announced that she had spoken with Postmaster General DeJoy, and pressed him for clarity regarding the ongoing mail processing review of the Charleston facility. Capito correctly notes the importance of the mail processing facility to all of West Virginia, and the fact that the Mountain State can’t afford to lose the 800 workers currently employed at that facility.

She is demanding answers from DeJoy on several questions, including a clarification on DeJoy’s comments that there won’t be any layoffs. Capito also wants assurances that the West Virginia employees will not be transferred to centers in other states.

She also wants to know if the mail processing function is removed from the Charleston plant, will employees’ roles be downgraded? Furthermore, she also wants to know how is operational efficiency defined? Is it purely as a means to save on costs without significant service changes? If so, how are significant service changes defined?

Capito has given DeJoy until Thursday, Dec. 14, to answer her questions. Manchin says he also has spoken to DeJoy, who told him there will be no layoffs. Still Manchin is encouraging all residents of the state to submit comments to the USPS opposing changes to the Charleston mail processing facility. Manchin is urging residents to submit their comments online at

Miller said the possible consolidation of the Charleston and Pittsburgh, Pa., facilities is illogical and would threaten West Virginia’s economy.

The fact that there is confusion surrounding the status of Charleston’s mail processing facility is unfortunate.

It is important to remember that there are still many residents across the state and right here in southern West Virginia who depend upon a timely arrival of their monthly checks and life-saving medications.

If the Charleston facility were to be closed, consolidated or downgraded, everyone who depends upon the postal service for a timely delivery of their mail could be adversely impacted. This includes veterans, the elderly and disabled and low-income citizens.

DeJoy, the U.S. Postal Service and the Biden administration should take immediate steps to clarify the status of the Charleston mail processing facility. This includes providing a definitive answer now as to whether this facility is being closed or consolidated with another state.

Meanwhile, residents and lawmakers across the state should vigorously oppose any such plan.