WV Democrats Invite EPA leader to Mountain State - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Democrats Invite EPA leader to Mountain State

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The West Virginia Democratic Party sent a letter Tuesday, Nov. 13 to Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency inviting her to visit the Mountain State.

McCarthy, EPA Administrator, visited with state leaders in August but is now being asked to make a trip soon to educate West Virginians on the EPA's policies.

In the letter, the state's Democratic Party said more than 24,000 people in West Virginia are employed by the coal industry and thousands more are employed by support industries like rail, barge and electric transmission.

"We're proud of our coal mining heritage," the letter said. "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."

Members of the party said the regulations promoted by the EPA have not only put 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."

By the state relying on coal through 2040 for more than 35 percent of electricity generated, jeopardizing a fuel source that provides the state with affordable and reliable electricity to 240 million Americans is simply "unacceptable," leaders said in the letter.

Signed by prominent state democrats including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Senate President Jeffery Kessler, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state auditor Glen Gainer, the letter shows just how important it is to some West Virginians to voice their concerns about the threat of declining the coal industry.

The purpose of the trip would be for McCarthy to discuss the effects of the EPA's policies by scheduling a listening session to solicit ideas and input from public stakeholders about the planned regulations for existing power plants.

A full list of those involved in signing the letter include:

Larry Puccio, Chairman, West Virginia Democratic Party; Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor, West Virginia; Joseph Manchin III, US Senator, West Virginia; Nick J. Rahall II, Member of Congress, West Virginia; Timothy R. Miley, Speaker, West Virginia House of Delegates; Jeffrey V. Kessler, President, West Virginia Senate; Natalie E. Tennant, Secretary of State, West Virginia; Glen B. Gainer III, Auditor, West Virginia; Meshea L Poore, Member, West Virginia House of Delegates; Cecil E. Roberts, International President, United Mine Workers of America; Kenneth M. Perdue, President, West Virginia AFL-CIO; Chris R. Hamilton, Vice President, West Virginia Coal Association; Belinda Biafore, Vice-Chair, West Virginia Democratic Party; and Nick Casey, Former Chair, West Virginia Democratic Party.