Acting W.Va. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin offered a strong defense of the coal industry in his State of the State address this evening:
We all know that coal keeps the lights on. But we cannot forget – or let others ignore – that it is vital to the economic and national security of our country to utilize West Virginia’s natural resources.
According to recent studies, coal means 63,000 jobs to West Virginia and over twenty-five billion dollars to our State’s economy.
And it’s not just about West Virginia. Our Country relies on coal for almost half – HALF – of all its electric generation. Coal-fired electricity costs 1/3 than that of other forms of generation. In these tough economic times, we should be looking for more ways to use coal, not less. It is hard to understand why some people want to turn their back on and vilify such an important resource that has such potential – and a proven track record – for our Country.
Acting Gov. Tomblin continued:
Do not misunderstand my message – the fact that coal has such a positive impact for West Virginia and our country does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to safety or environmental concerns. I firmly believe that we can mine coal in an environmentally safe manner. And, I firmly believe that we will develop ways to burn coal in a carbon-friendly manner.
But he also made clear:
But what we cannot stand for is a mentality that ignores the realities of the world we live in. While the rest of the world moves toward industrialization and the use of coal-fired generation, our own federal government seems focused on bringing a crushing halt to one of the cheapest, most reliable forms of energy we have ever known. And if we turn our back on coal while other nations use it, all we are doing is continuing to give other nations additional economic advantages over America.
When we put West Virginia First – We put America First!!!
That is why I intend to aggressively pursue our State’s lawsuit against the EPA. We should be working together to solve our nation’s energy problems – not taking dogmatic approaches that turn a blind eye to any form of reasonable regulation. West Virginians want to play a part in solving our nation’s energy problems, and all we are asking for is a meaningful seat at the table.
If the goal is to reduce carbon emissions and search for energy sources for the future – then we should take a more sensible approach to achieving that end.
America put a man on the moon.
We invented the semi-conductor
and started the internet.
And, I believe that we can find ways to make coal a more carbon friendly resource.