Is it possible for the nation to “hit the reset button” when it comes to coal?
That’s the hope — time will tell if it’s realistic — after a meeting between the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, and several West Virginia Democrats and others who traveled to Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio, Democratic congressional candidate Nick Casey, Chris Hamilton of the West Virginia Coal Association and Bill Banig with the United Mine Workers of America were among the delegation.
Puccio, The State Journal reported, said the delegation was restricted on the number of participants, and several letters from other lawmakers in support of the delegation were passed along during the meeting and more were on the way.
The delegation met with McCarthy, EPA staff and senior advisers to President Barack Obama, whom many believe is the leader of a “war on coal.”
“I told them that ‘the war on coal’ is not an optical illusion, that it was real,” Manchin said. “It’s not just a war in West Virginia or this country, but it’s a war around the world.”
The good news is that communication has been established between coal interests and McCarthy.
The previous director, Lisa Jackson, received three letters from Tomblin, Miley told The Associated Press, but the governor never got either a response or any acknowledgment that the letters had been received. McCarthy’s reception on the day she was officially sworn in, Miley said, “speaks volumes to her willingness to try to understand.”
“I believe we’ll have the opportunity to hit the reset button and have a constructive dialogue,” Miley said.
Rahall said McCarthy made some comments about the need for coal that are “a source of some encouragement.”
As we have continually pointed out, much progress has been made in mining and burning coal in a more environmentally friendly way over the years, and efforts to improve further must continue. Coal, even with efforts to address climate change, will be a significant and needed part of the energy portfolio in the nation and world for decades to come. It’s part of abundant, affordable energy that’s essential to a sound, growing economy.
Tomblin said McCarthy promised to have an open dialogue and consider the economic impact of EPA’s policies, something that the Republican members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation — Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito — have also demanded.
There will be a close watch to see if McCarthy’s words to the delegation mean something.
“However, the proof will be in the pudding,” Rahall said, “and our delegation made abundantly clear that there must be greater equity between environmental goals and economic needs.”
The delegation invited McCarthy to visit West Virginia to see first-hand the impact the EPA has on the coal industry.
“She didn’t confirm right there,” Manchin said, “but I think we can make that happen.”
Moving forward, it’s critical that all stakeholders — from miners to industry to lawmakers to regulators — be heavily involved in the future of coal.
“If we’re going to have an honest conversation about climate change and the future of coal, we can’t afford to leave anyone out — from miners and their families to coal operators, utility companies and policy-makers. It’s in our interest as West Virginians to be part of the solution, and it’s in our interest as a nation to invest in clean coal,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who is in his final term before retirement.
“We should start with a real public-private partnership among all stakeholders, especially in these tough budget times.
“The administration sent the right message last week when our new Energy Secretary (Ernest) Moniz touted clean coal during a visit with the experts in West Virginia. But actions speak louder than words, on all sides, and the details of how we move forward matter a great deal. I will never stop believing that we can work together to find common ground in supporting our miners and investing in clean coal. That hard work must begin today.”
Is it possible for the nation to “hit the reset button” when it comes to coal?
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
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