The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 27, 2013

Obama’s coal plan angers lawmakers

CHARLESTON — Two southern lawmakers in one of West Virginia’s more prolific coal districts denounced President Obama’s latest assault on the industry as a “cancer” and “borderline criminal.”

Moreover, state Sens. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, and Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, served notice that West Virginia will not take the White House initiative lying down.

On the campus of Georgetown University, the president sent word Tuesday that he is accelerating efforts to impose more stringent standards on coal producers in what he insists is climate change, which he blames on emissions in the burning of fossil fuels.

“This is unbelievable,” says state Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, who serves in the coal-rich 9th District.

“Our state and nation may not be able to withstand the next three years of these unreasonable attacks on the middle class working men and women. His administration is like a cancer to our great state.”

Obama’s speech triggered a predictable outcry among West Virginia officials, denouncing his plans to impose the first-ever rules on heat-trapping gases spawned new and existing power plants.

“This administration’s energy policy and this war on coal is misguided, naive, irresponsible and borderline criminal,” Hall said.

“This is a deliberate attack on the economy and livelihood of West Virginia and its families.”

Hall called on the West Virginia delegation in Washington and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to do whatever  is possible to resist the president.

“If there is action the West Virginia Legislature can take, we should immediately be called into special session to take that action,” the freshman senator said.

What’s more, he urged state residents to write, telephone and e-mail the White House to voice opposition to a policy that will “continue to harm our economy, way of life and financial security.”

Green emphasized that he didn’t mean to trivialize cancer, pointing out many in West Virginia are struggling with the dreaded disease, among them some relatives and close friends.

“But I can draw great comparisons between the horrible disease and this administration,” the Beckley resident said.

Green said West Virginia officials managed to stave off Obama’s first wave of assault against the coal industry but the administration has renewed its war.

Even so, he said the state isn’t about to hoist the white flag of surrender.

“One thing I can assure you of, the hard-working, God-fearing people of this state will be ready for this next battle, too,” he said.

“We will come together as individuals, families and communities to let our voices be heard against these unreasonable and irresponsible regulations.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

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