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WV Democrats Invite U.S. EPA Administrator to Mountain State

Reported by: Send eMail Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 12, 2013 4:45 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 12, 2013 5:55 PM EST

U.S. EPA Website Photo
U.S. EPA Website Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A delegation led by the West Virginia Democratic Party has sent an official invitation to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, requesting that she visit the Mountain State so she can see how the federal agency’s policies could affect the state.

The purpose of the trip would be so that she can discuss the effects of the EPA's policies on West Virginia, according to a news release from party officials. Officials said they would also call on the EPA to schedule a listening sessions to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about EPA’s planned regulations for existing power plants.

McCarthy’s invitation to visit West Virginia follows a meeting she had with the delegation in August.

Following is the text of that letter, signed by Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party; Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin; West Virginia House Speaker Timothy Miley; Congressman Nick Joe Rahall; and West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler:

Administrator McCarthy,

Thank you for meeting with our West Virginia lawmakers and other representatives in August to discuss the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on the people of West Virginia. When we met, we extended to you an invitation to visit our great state so that you could see the effects of your policies firsthand. We are writing today to again invite you to West Virginia, and we respectfully request that you schedule this visit soon.

More than 24,000 people in our state are employed by the coal industry, and thousands more are employed by support industries like rail, barge and electric transmission. West Virginians rely on the energy sector to provide food, clothing and shelter, and we’re proud of our coal mining heritage. Our coal miners are some of the hardest working people in America; they do the heavy lifting that keeps this country strong, and they can’t understand why their own government tries to kill the good jobs that support their families.

Your agency has promoted regulations that have put not just these miners’ jobs at risk, but also threaten the energy security of the United States. Two-thirds of the electricity generated in West Virginia is exported to surrounding states. Coal provides more electricity than any other single source in this country, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The government’s own Energy Information Administration predicts that we will continue to rely on coal through 2040 for more than 35 percent of our electricity. Jeopardizing a fuel source that provides affordable and reliable electriciy to 240 million Americans is simply unacceptable. Our federal government must act as our partner, not our adversary.

We are also very disappointed that, as your agency was scheduling the recent series of listening sessions to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about EPA’s planned regulations for existing power plants, you failed to schedule even a single event in West Virginia, the state with the most working coal miners in America. In fact, of the eleven events, only one is scheduled to occur in a top-five coal-producing state. West Virginia and other coal-producing states deserve a seat at the table, and we are hopeful that you will give us that opportunity.

Again, we respectfully request that you come to the Mountain State, speak with our people, and see firsthand the real life impact of EPA regulations on the everyday lives of West Virginians. Thank you for your consideration of our request.

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