The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 14, 2010

U.S. HOUSE CANDIDATE CONVERSATIONS — Nick Rahall

(Continued)

If you had to cut one federal program or agency, which one would it be? Why?

“I’m sure there are some that have squandered their original mandate. I would not as my opponent has advocated abolish the Department of Education or funding for education. Certainly I would not do that. You know, the EPA has its faults and would come closest to receiving my vote. However, I think we’re all environmentalists. We want clean air, we want clean water for our children. We want a clean environment to raise our children here in West Virginia and our grandchildren. For the most part, the laws that we have passed over the decades have served useful purposes. That’s why we get undercut in foreign competition because other countries don’t have those health laws, safety laws and environmental laws and they’re subsidized by their government so they undercut us in the world marketplace.

“I think most of the agencies serve a purpose and a useful purpose. The Veterans Administration, a very good agency and has helped our veterans. We gave them the largest single increase in veterans funding in its history.

“Going back to climate change just a minute, in the global marketplace in order to make coal competitive with those other domestic fuels that are always attacking it, to ensure a future for coal, we can’t put our heads under the blanket and pretend climate change doesn’t exist or we’re hurting coal.

“I think every agency needs oversight and scrutiny by the Congress. No matter what agency. The EPA would come closest to getting my vote for abolition. I’ve tried to work with them, there’s no question about it. I’ve been successful with them on the Patriot permit on the border there of Lincoln and Logan County, a couple of permits in Mingo County. And a couple more close to success, but that’s not enough progress for me. I’ve had it with them. I’ve said that before. I’ve joined in legislation to stop their funding until they involve public input more and take into account job losses in their decisions.

“I’m a realist. You’re not going to abolish (the EPA). If I said pick out an agency today, the fact is that it will have its strong backers somewhere in Congress and in the American public.”

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