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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  • 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

  • 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.

    July 18, 2014

  • 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.

    July 17, 2014

  • 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.

    July 16, 2014

  • 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.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

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