The Times West Virginian


March 6, 2013

President’s pick to lead EPA is not a friend of coal

Let’s just say if we’re picking out friends of coal, Gina McCarthy probably wouldn’t be included among the ranks.

But that’s who President Barack Obama has slated to replace Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. And if the Senate confirms the appointment, we imagine that McCarthy will pick right up where her former boss left off — painfully regulating coal, coal-fired plants and emissions because Congress has failed to agree on a national energy plan.

McCarthy, currently the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, might mean a harsh environment for coal-fired electricity generation, which powers nearly half the country. That translates to a tough climate for coal. She has already been the champion of regulations that limit carbon emissions for new power plants, and regulations that have affected current plants in operation.

Just ask the residents of Rivesville, where a Mon Power plant was shuttered.

Obama has said he wants to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, through legislation. But the chances of that seem pretty slim considering that in 2010, even with a Democrat-led Senate and House, a comprehensive climate bill failed to pass. Without congressional support for another attempt at a climate bill, the EPA will just have to go back to what it’s been doing for the past four years.

More emissions regulations. More mining permits being stuck in limbo. More of coal being left out in the cold.

This nation needs a clear and concise energy plan, one that includes all elements. If we take advantage of all our energy resources — from coal and natural gas to wind and solar — the entire nation benefits in the end. But if one administration regulates a few of the resources to the point where it’s no longer economically feasible for use, you’re hampering industry. And industry will feel the effects much longer than the duration of the administration.

Will we get a clear picture of energy from a second cabinet-level appointment in MIT professor Ernest Moniz as energy secretary? Outgoing Secretary of Energy Steven Chu referred to coal as his “worst nightmare.” The White House says Moniz’s appointment is evidence of the administration’s commitment to an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

All of the above — except coal, that is.

The only positive is that Moniz has been a champion of natural gas and much of his research at MIT has looked into natural gas as “a bridge fuel” because it burns with less carbon emissions than, well, coal.

Our only consolation is that since the EPA has declared the United States the “no smoking” section of Earth, we’ll continue to mine our coal and send it off to India and China to burn it. We just don’t see McCarthy and Moniz as anything different from Jackson and Chu.

And since Congress can’t even agree to avoid catastrophic budget cuts, we think we’ll be living with more of the same from the EPA for at least the next four years.

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  • 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.

    July 30, 2014

  • 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.

    July 29, 2014

  • 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.

    July 27, 2014

  • 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.

    July 27, 2014

  • 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.

    July 25, 2014

  • 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.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • 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.

    July 20, 2014

  • 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.

    July 20, 2014

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