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US Senate blasts coal industry

Steel News - Published on Fri, 22 Jun 2012

From the floor of the US Senate, Sen Jay Rockefeller, D W Va made a major break from the rest of the West Virginia delegation in regard to coal and the Environmental Protection Agency.

To be clear, Mr Rockefeller was not disparaging the mining of coal. The thrust of his June 20 speech, however was against standard coal political narrative in West Virginia.

Mr Rockefeller\'s speech was in response to a Senate resolution introduced to overturn pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr Rockefeller said that \"I don\'t support this Resolution of Disapproval because it does nothing to embrace coal\'s potential. It moves us backward, not forward. And unless this industry aggressively leans into the future, coal miners will lose the most. It\'s not too late for the coal industry to step up and lead by embracing the realities of today and creating a sustainable future. We need a bold partner, innovation and major public and private investments.\"

Despite the split from traditional West Virginia politics of all around defense of the coal industry, state Democratic Party chairman Larry Puccio was not critical of Rockefeller\'s speech on the Senate floor.

Mr Puccio said that \"Our West Virginia Democrats in Washington are independent thinkers, and they vote the way they believe best represents the people of West Virginia.”

Sen Joe Manchin, D-WVa stood behind the bill, even getting out ahead of the June 20 vote to publicly express support. The bill would have blocked Environmental Protection Agency efforts to reduced mercury and other air toxics from coal-fired electric plants. It was introduced by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. The resolution was ultimately defeated.

Mr Rockefeller said that \"Beyond the frenzy over this one EPA rule, we need to focus squarely on the real task of securing coal for the long term while addressing legitimate environmental and health concerns. Let me be clear. I\'m frustrated with some of the top levels of the coal industry, but I\'m not giving up hope for real solutions for clean coal.\"

Rockefeller called the resolution \"foolish\" and \"destined to fail.\"

Mr Rockefeller said that \"Solving big challenges with American ingenuity is what we do. West Virginia knows energy, and West Virginia doesn\'t shrink from challenge. We have the chance here to not just grudgingly accept the future but to boldly step into that future.\"

In his floor speech, Mr Rockefeller said the conversation on coal has hit \"a fevered pitch.\" He blamed the coal companies for influencing the discussion with misinformation and money.

Mr Rockefeller said that \"Carefully orchestrated messages that strike fear in the hearts of West Virginians and feed uncertainty about coal\'s future are the subject of paid television ads, billboards, break room bulletin boards, public meetings, letters and lobbying campaigns. A daily onslaught declares that coal is under siege from harmful outside forces, and that the future of the state is bleak unless we somehow turn back the clock, ignore the present and block the future.\"

Rockefeller said market forces and a need to reduce environmental impact is driving inevitable change in West Virginia. Without facing the real problem, Rockefeller said, West Virginia miners could be left \"in the dust.\"

Source - State Journal


Posted By : admin on Fri, 22 Jun 2012
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