CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A record number of West Virginia employers are scheduled to meet with the regional administrator of the federal EPA Tuesday in Philadelphia.
The annual fly-in to the EPA’s Region III headquarters is initiated by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Steve Roberts said there’s more interest than ever because of the way EPA policies are impacting manufacturers.
“The actions of the U.S. EPA are making it extremely difficult for very, very good companies in West Virginia to make and ship a product, keep people working, and we have people who want to go talk to them about this,” Roberts said.
The annual meetings have been taking place for 30 years but Roberts said interest is at an all-time high.
“These people make things. We built our country by making things and we do it very responsibly but we have a U.S. EPA that wants to make things even tougher than they already are,” according to Roberts.
EPA regulations impacting coal production have received the most headlines but Roberts said it’s many other manufacturers, small and large alike, that have their daily operations impacted by EPA decisions.
Roberts said Tuesday’s meeting will be fact-finding.
“A lot of the purpose is to find out what the EPA has in mind, what they plan to do next. To see how we can comply and continue to make the things that everybody wants to buy,” he said.
Roberts’ criticism goes right to the top. He doesn’t anticipate things changing at the EPA while President Barack Obama remains in office.
“We think there’s probably going to be more of the same and this will continue as long as we have a President in office who wants this to continue,” Roberts said.
The Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting an event in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. A “Taste of West Virginia” will take place in the U.S. Senate Hart Building from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.