Thursday, Democratic lawmakers from West Virginia will be in Washington, D.C. to meet with top officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

House Speaker Tim Miley, state Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio and others in the delegation believe it is significant that they will get face time with the new head of the EPA.  Such a meeting would have been unthinkable with McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson.

McCarthy deserves credit for granting an audience with what she knows will be a hostile crowd because of the agency’s increased regulatory pressure on the coal industry.  Then again, McCarthy, a straight-talking Bostonian, might just give our folks an earful herself.

In an interview with the New York Times this week, McCarthy flatly denied she has it out for coal.  “We don’t have a war on coal,” she said.  “We’re doing our business, which is to reduce pollution.  We’re following the law.”

Lisa Jackson may have been the poster child for the regulatory rigor of the EPA, but it was actually Gina McCarthy who handled most of the legwork as head of the agency’s air and radiation office.

The Times says McCarthy helped write “tough greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, a tighter ozone limit that the White House rejected, the first rule on mercury emissions from power plants, and a regulation on smokestack pollution that crosses state lines, which has been blocked by a federal court.”

And it’s McCarthy who has been chosen to carry out President Obama’s precept to use the considerable power of the federal government to deal with climate change by fiat.  The most significant step is the planned limiting of emissions that will make it impossible to build coal-fired power plants in the future, while phasing out existing plants.

Meanwhile, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown Monday, where he continued to perpetuate the remarkable fiction that the Administration has an “all of the above” strategy on energy.

“It’s real,” Moniz said, perhaps trying a bit too hard to convince some of the coal folks in the crowd who know otherwise.

As evidence, Moniz cited the Administration’s budgeting of $6 billion for research on how to burn coal more cleanly by capturing and storing carbon emissions.  Unfortunately, you can’t tell by reading the budget whether this money has actually been obligated for clean coal research.

But why ruin a good soundbyte?

This week, Politico reported that West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall was one of seven lawmakers who attended a naming ceremony at the EPA headquarters.  Rahall wanted to get a few minutes with McCarthy about the delays in the coal mine permitting process.

Rahall says he told McCarthy “a lot of our coal people feel that after negotiating with your people, and they agree on most everything if not everything you want, and then you move the goal posts on them and make it harder for them to negotiate with you.”

The Congressman says he’s more optimistic he can work with McCarthy, noting that Jackson would not even return his phone calls.

It appears, so far, that Gina McCarthy is at least willing to listen to the West Virginia delegation about coal, but it’s doubtful the answers she and the EPA will provide are going to change.

 

 

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Comments

  • zerotolerance

    The day when WV decides to move beyond coal is when the recovery can begin both economically and environmentally. Demanding anything at this point with coal remaining the sole source of energy revenue for the state is ludicrous but WV politicians from either side of the fence will continue to keep it on life support as long as it is possible. The time has come to move away from coal and begin to make definitive choices for other revenue. Kicking, screaming, and throwing temper tantrum at the grocery store when I wanted a candy bar never got me anywhere with my mother; and if the political representatives of WV (Republican & Democrats) continue to use this approach the results will be the same.

    Nero fiddled while Rome burned and we are effectively doing the same thing.

    • DonaldH

      Really Coal is secondary here-- I don't want a democrat majority in either chamber nor in the White House-- That is all that will save this country while "Rome is Burning" PERIOD!!

  • bulldog95

    If coal is so evil and the undoing of all mankind, why doesnt DC take the first step. DC needs to go green, put up enough solar panels and wind mills, and then flip the switch from coal energy to green energy. Once they are done, lets wait a couple of months and see how well that is going and what the price tag is.

    They want other people to go first, but since Obama is the leader of all leaders, he should lead and go first instead of bringing up the rear.

  • WVU 74

    Hoppy,

    OK, the EPA is not engaging in a War on Coal, is performing its mission to reduce pollution, and is following the the law (except when the US Courts say it isn't.) Sure.

    What's the Coal Industry doing? From your past reporting, we are informed that negotiations between the EPA and the Coal Industry over Rule Making and Regulations usually fail. Primarily because the EPA moves the benchmarks, and thus does not bargain in good faith.

    Could be the WV Delegation is going to the wrong Federal Agency. Five years going head-to-head with the EPA, and it hasn't changed a thing. (Thank you, Kelli) Why not try the US Department of Commerce? Specifically, the Export Division. They will inform you coal is an especially good export for the United States right now! Sell the stockpiles while the demand is high. You can wager the Secretary of Commerce would move coal by the megaton.

    Many countries don't have coal, but need it to generate electricity. Coal is a bargain especially in the Sub-Sahara, India, Asia, where the US dollar is shrinking in comparison to other currencies. Its getting to be dirt-cheap for these countries to import US coal.

    In case the WV Delegation hasn't figured it out, the EPA has no authority outside the United States.

    Oh, wait ... Global Warming and Carbon Footprints! That is a current problem for the EPA with coal, both mining it and burning it. These issues will be gradually solved, but we will have to continue present extraction minus those criminal MTR methods. Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming ... Third World countries are more realistic. They may acknowledge it, may even sign a "protocol" to force the industrialized nations to do something about it.
    But they don't spend any of their capital attempting to deal with it.

    • CarlosDangerfield

      That is Obama's next move Shorty. To prohibit the exportation of coal from any US port. Have you not read the progressive liberal NEW Party playbook???

      • hillbilly

        You nailed it...the EPA has no authority outside the United States. Therefore to progress their agenda on "Climate Change" they halt exporting / mining coal in the US to force India and China to "reduce" emissions.

  • 7thGate

    All of this panic is created by a State goverment that did not try to diversify our economic base. The mining of coal is an extraction industry that has a finite feedstock. It never has, or will it ever provide sustanible long term employement. It is unresonable and foolish to expect this industry to provide the same levels of employemnt and taxes to the end of time. Who should be catching hell for this mess are the life time WV politicians in Charleston and Washington. Soon, the bill collector will be at the front door and the bank account is dry. They all know the outcome and are in denial. Detroit...but on a state level!

  • Kelli Sobonya

    Day late and a dollar short. Why a road 5 years into this anti- coal administration? Talk is cheap. West Virginia needs action. Excluding Republicans reveals this is a partisan publicity stunt and one that will likely be recognized by the people of West Virginia. We need a strong, bipartisan effort in standing up for jobs and energy independency-not a partisan gimmick. Coal is important to WV and we need to stand up for it as a state regardless of party affiliation.

  • DWM

    No doubt the entire monolithic structure of the Obama Administration including the EPA will come out of the meeting with shovels ready to dig coal and embracing fossil fuels as a way to reduce our energy costs.

  • mntnman

    We can hope...but not be blind to the reality that this administration doesn't seem to want coal in the energy portfolio.

    So we need to do it ourselves, along with other coal states and perhaps the energy business. Time to do the research and development ourselves. If we keep waiting, it will be too late.

    • DonaldH

      It's just not "this administration" that hates coal-- 30 years ago before coal was their target of destruction it was Nuclear Power they completely ended as being a viable source of energy for the U.S. Now they're shutting coal down and working to stifle any other viable energy replacement like shale and natural gas from growing in availability and affordability to fuel our economic growth..

      Golly-Gee it's almost like there is a group out there that hates the U.S. so much that they don't want to see us as a global dominance in anything.... And I spell the name of that group D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T

      • mntnman

        With respect, you are too partisan to accept that this is primarily the executive branch doing this. Congress is not. So, its not democrats, its the executive. Of course, if someone, anyone would come up with an energy policy, we might see improvement in coals future. Or if state government would act in its own interest...

        • DonaldH

          Sorry, partisanship or not it is the face of the democrat party from San Francisco, California to New York, New York to oppose fossil fuel, particularly Coal and oil.. How can you even suggest that environmentalist groups are not entrenched deep into the Democrat Party.

  • Fubar

    Just more democrats pissing down our back while telling us its raining.
    Do not expect any changes from federal or state administrations.

  • Joe

    Why should an agency who focuses on science and research listen to a bunch of bumpkin politicos from WV?

    Everyone should be embarrassed to have your reps act as a lobbying task force for an industry who could give 2 sh!ts about you.

    • Shadow

      You left out the adjective before science. It is JUNK. The EPA has never left facts influence any decision.

      • Joe

        Really? I'm sure you and Larry Puccio have vast amounts of peer reviewed studies that are far superior than what the EPA is exposed to everyday. Thank God you're here to give us the real facts and set the science community straight.

        • bulldog95

          And I am sure you looked at the studies that said it was junk science. Actually I am sure you said that those studies were junk, that our government would not lie to us, that global warming is hear and I refuse to listen to any other thought on the matter.

      • DonaldH

        Well, it is the factual opinion of the Obama Administration and by extension the EPA, the Congressional Black Caucus, the DNC, the NEWS Media, as well as the world of higher education and academia that global warming is a global occurrence backed be the scientific proof that it is the fault of George Bush and that I am a racist for not voting for Obama...

  • thornton

    Nope...just a Grip & Grin opportunity for appearances and maybe a chance of a decent chicken salad sandwich for lunch.

  • wirerowe

    Hoppy Mannix Porterfield reports that no republicans or southern West Virginia legislators will be going. Southern West Virginia gets hammered on both mining and burning and is most impacted by this. Be nice ,can work if those who are going will be strong advocates for reasonableness and for once taking into account the economic impact of EPA's regulations. We will never know.

  • TD

    I'd really like to know how these meetings go. Has the mining industry put together a comprehensive plan/investment for reducing carbon emissions seeking to work with the gov't to solve the problem? I would have to think if that's the case they would get a good hearing from the new director. Or do they come in with no plan and complain that George Bush's EPA had given the ok to flattening southern WV and burning more coal in old outdated facilities that are destroying the atmosphere, so what's the problem?

    Knowing the history of mining companies and the kind of citizens they have been, see what's happening with Patriot coal right now, I suspect the the latter.

    • bulldog95

      I suspect that there will be no meaningful meeting between the two groups, and its for the very reason that you state in your post. You said plan/invest to reduce carbon emissions to solve the problem.

      Some groups of people buy completely into the narrative that CO2 is killing us and that unless we do something about it the ice caps will melt and flood the planet.

      Then other groups believe that CO2 does not contribute to said problems, that we exhale the very thing that is thought to be our demise.

      So there we have it, thats why there will be no meaningful conversation between the two.

      • TD

        Inside your response lies the problem. "Other groups believe CO2 does not contribute to the problem". As long as that is the case why do anything?

        The Koch brothers funded a study by Richard Muller a couple years ago. He is a physicist who had said he didn't think global warming was caused by man. To the credit of the Koch brothers they gave him adequate resources and didn't interfere with his research. His conclusion after a two year study was that global warming is real and the primary cause is burning of coal.

        If someone says drunk driving is a serious problem and another side says it isn't, that doesn't mean that it is not. The coal industry, like the financial industry for example who would be better off to self impose regulations to remove volatility out of the market, would be best served to jump on this problem and solve it themselves rather than denying it exist.

  • Hop'sHip

    Hoppy: I predict that the agency will listen and understand traditional coal states' challenges much better than you and your coal warriors listen and understand the science of climate change. You would think you would have learned from your benefactor's predicament that when you act like a petulant child and eventually lose, it might be hard for the winner to then treat you like an adult with a vital contribution to make.

    • dolphin3111

      I understand climate change. Apparently you do not.

      • Hop'sHip

        I admit I don't. But I'm willing to read your peer-reviewed paper on the subject.

        • dolphin3111

          The major climate drivers are

          a.) NATURAL OCEAN CYCLES. By far the most powerful. Global atmospheric temperatures over the last century have been shown to closely follow combined AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations) and PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillations).

          b.) VOLCANISM. The coldest years in known history, both by hemisphere and globally have been shown to immediately follow major vocanic eruptions. This is due to changes in aerosol optical thickness of the atmosphere and can last up to 5 to 10 years after the eruption.

          These are the major players in global temperatures. CO2 didn’t make the team.

          CO2 at 400 parts per million is not a pollutant as our president claims so arrogantly, but life-giving molecule that MIGHT be one of 33 variables that can affect climate. There is something strange about large masses of people willing to bet the future of the planet on a 1 in 33 chance, of a small variable that is essential for life, but somehow is now a pollutant.

    • DonaldH

      Ok, maybe you can break-out your Al Gore Jr. pocket code book to science of global warming and educate us all-- and please, put the chapter about Al inventing the internet in a "lock-box" as I've already had that part read to me....

      • Hop'sHip

        I don't go to politicians, or whatever Al Gore is these days, for guidance on this. I suspect Rush Limbaugh has informed you on the subject. What are his credentials? This is what ScienceDaily recently reported:

        "May 15, 2013 — A comprehensive analysis of peer-reviewed articles on the topic of global warming and climate change has revealed an overwhelming consensus among scientists that recent warming is human-caused."

        By the way. Could you tell me where Al Gore claimed that he "invented the internet"?

        • dolphin3111

          “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.”

          Michael Crichton

        • dolphin3111

          "In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

          There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.”
          ― Michael Crichton

          • Hop'sHip

            The greatest scientists are those who let the evidence guide there conclusions and refuse to be bullied by powerful interests invested in the status quo.

          • Hop'sHip

            their

        • DonaldH

          Yea, Rush seems fairly well informed on most matters and I "suspect" more-so than you. I fail to see his relevancy here, though.

          "The only contentious aspect of the IPCC assessment is attribution -- what is the cause of global warming and climate change," says atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, who is president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, a public policy institute based in Arlington, Va. "We have looked at every bit of data that IPCC has brought forth, and we see no credible evidence for human-caused global warming. None."

          There, I cited an actual scientist instead of the "science writer", Dan Hogan and 24 bloggers from SkepticScience.com or some nonsense... And I'm still not convinced one way or another!!

          And Al Gore; Sorry my bad, I quoted him wrong-- he didn't even remotely take credit for "inventing" the internet- I stand corrected..

          "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet" Al Gore 3-9-1999- CNN Wolf Blitzer----- You can even read the transcripts and listen to the actual sound bite if you like. Have at it.

          • Hop'sHip

            I will concede that inside the Heartland Institute, there is consensus favoring your position. It comes down to whom you trust. You're dismissive of studies coming from Unversities. I'm suspicious of industry-funded politically-guided "think tanks".

            From what I have learned Gore's actual statement of his legislative role during the early years of the internet is very defensible and certainly not the same as saying "he INVENTED the internet"

  • DonaldH

    At this point, why even talk?—this administration will do whatever they want, whenever they want and to whomever they want regardless of an objectionable voice from We The People or what the Constitution permits them to do.

    Hop, you nailed it with “ by fiat” ( fatwa would better fit Obama)— Every branch of federal government other than the executive branch has been reduced to irrelevancy.

    So why are we Americans even talking about this or anything else? America lost this political struggle for its existence and “We The People” have been reduced to irrelevancy by Executive Fiat.

  • CaptainQ

    One word answer to your question, Hoppy: "NO!"

    • DonaldH

      Sorry Capt'n-- "We The People" are to few in number to muster a loud enough "NO" to be heard-- or at least be taken seriously.. We are done...

      • DonaldH

        and of course you are also right,, the Bolsheviks wont listen, either.

        • CaptainQ

          EPA takes it's marching orders from the White House and Obama HATES coal.

          Nuf sed.

          • wirerowe

            This is the bottom line and you are dead on Captain.

          • Hop'sHip

            Q: Since you are an expert on Obama and his hatred of all things coal and West Virginia, perhaps you can explain this:

            "President Obama announced his administration would make $8 billion available in loan guarantees for the development of enhanced fossil energy projects, which includes CCS technology. "

            Seems an odd way to fight a war by financing the enemy.