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?
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
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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