CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A candidate for Congress in West Virginia’s Second District said leaders of states that depend on coal need to work together, regardless of party, to push back against the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
“We’ve got to get a coalition going of the coal states, the people who understand coal, understand that it can be done and mined successfully, that it can be used efficiently and as cleanly as possible, and build that coalition,” said Nick Casey on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
A former chairman of the state Democratic Party, Casey is seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in West Virginia’s Second District next year.
“I am disappointed in the President,” said Casey. “That guy came along selling hope and the only hope he sold West Virginia, particularly people in the coal business, was no hope, hopelessness.”
Later this week, the EPA will release proposed emissions rules for new coal-fired power plants. Indications are the new limits will require power plant developers to invest heavily in carbon capture technology and other methods to control emissions at new plants and meet the federal requirements.
Critics have said those proposals will keep all new plants from being built.
Casey said he thinks the proposed limits prove the Obama Administration is not committed to an “all of the above” energy plan that includes coal.
“It is really disappointing to me to see somebody abandon a whole sector of the industry and, to make it even worse, he’s abandoning our friends and neighbors here in West Virginia, not only the people that own the mines, but the people that supply the mines and the people that mine the coal,” said Casey.
“That’s us that’s he’s turned on.”
Casey was part of a meeting, earlier this year in Washington, D.C., involving Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and a delegation of Democrats from West Virginia. He said that meeting was “clarifying” considering the emissions limits that are expected to be released by Friday.
“I now know where she stands and where she stands is, she’s going to do what she wants to do and that’s not satisfactory,” said Casey of McCarthy.
“That’s why we need to push back against the EPA, as aggressively as we can or we’re going to find we are an energy state, rich in energy resources, but we’re not going to be allowed to use those in a proper, reasonable way.”
The rules for new plants are just the start. EPA emissions limits for existing power plants, which generated almost 40 percent of all of the electricity the U.S. used in the first half of this year, are due by next June.
Casey is one of three candidates in the race, so far, for the Democratic nomination. The other Democrats who have filed pre-candidacy papers in the Second District are Kanawha County Delegate Meshea Poore and Steven Gower from Weston.
To date, the Republican candidates are Larry Faircloth from Martinsburg, Robert Lawrence Fluharty from Charles Town, Alexander Mooney from Falling Waters, Jim Moss from Hurricane and Kenneth Reed from Berkeley Springs.
Current Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, is running for U.S. Senate in 2014.
West Virginia’s Primary Election is Tuesday, May 13.