CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Monday the only way to comply with new EPA proposed carbon emission rules is “to use less West Virginia coal.”

Tomblin was joined by members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, coal industry and labor leaders Monday afternoon at the state capitol to react to the proposal announced just a few hours before by federal EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Tombin said not a single coal-fired power plant, with its current emission numbers, would be in compliance with the proposals. The governor called the proposals “outrageous” and said the state’s “worst fears were realized.”

State DEP Secretary Randy Huffman told reporters the state would be seeking flexibility with the EPA. He said the only coal-fired plant close to the emission levels is the Longview plant near Morgantown. He said unfortunately the technology is currently not in place to reduce the carbon footprint of the other plants if they still want to use coal.

“There is a little bit that can be saved in efficiencies in the plant itself but based on coal combustion technology of today you can’t get there,” Huffman said.

Gov. Tomblin said the state will formulate a plan of response but initially he said it’s likely West Virginia would seek more time to comply.

“If the federal government really wants to set its mind to it (new emission levels) and if the technology can be developed, then it’s going to take some time to do that to continue to burn coal in West Virginia and the United States,” Tomblin said.

West Virginia will also likely seek partnerships with other states in hopes of cutting down on its emissions level. Tomblin said 60 percent of the power produced here goes to other states.

Huffman said states have an emission number to meet by 2030. He said what makes it more difficult is the numbers are on a plant-by-plant basis not just an overall emissions number.

“It’s going to require a significant reduction in combustion of coal and replacement of that by some other energy source,” he said. “Natural gas can do some of it but it’s going to take a lot more than that to obtain that goal by 2030.”

United Mine Workers Union of American President Cecil Roberts said the rules would be devastating to Appalachia when it comes to jobs and spinoff businesses. He said coal is the fastest growing fuel source in the world and there are currently 1,200 coal-fired power plants under construction in the world. Roberts said the Obama administration wants to lead on the climate change issue but not many other nations are following. He said the U.S. is going for a walk by itself.

Gov. Tomblin spoke personally with the EPA’s McCarthy just before his state capitol news conference. He said she promised to listen but he admits it may be difficult to change her mind.

“She seemed open to us giving her the feedback but I’m not sure how much it will change,” Tomblin said.

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  • Mike Bennett

    Why pay attention to the EPA? The gov. shouldn't be begging for more time, he should simply announce that WV won't comply with Obama's illegal rules, unless congress passes a law to make them legal. Two can play at that game.

  • Tom

    Stop mining coal for a month or so. When the lights go out, see how many of 'em start squalling......'GO BACK IN AND GET THAT COAL!!!'

  • Tom

    Poor ole WV is intercoursed.

  • mike nugent

    Cecil roberts endorsed obama now reap the whirlwind....coal is going the way of the soon as obama was elected he stuck a knife in WV's back.....

  • JJ

    Well let's roll over and die, Coal is leaving WV! Wake up WV we can do much more than this, let's figure out how to make it work and progress forward. Or we could just go back to Virginia and toss the last 150 years in the can. I swear can we not do anything but be a bunch of monkeys to the organ grinders that run big coal?

  • Jimmy

    We do have other options with Natural Gas and also ways to turn coal into gasoline, solar and wind while not as dependable is an option to add to the game. I see that ERT is sandwiched between Shelly Moore Capito and Bill Ramey in a press picture I guess they are all in the same boat on this and rowing together?

  • Agriculture

    The developing world will need to be fed. Grow food. Develop West Virginia's agricultural economy.

    • sabrina

      I am from Appalachia mountains..I was born and raised there...where the hell are you going to suggest to put a corn field up the side up a mountain full of nothing but trees on a rock cliff!!! when you can accomplish that you let me know..

      • David Kennedy

        A friend farms 1200 acres near Moorefield...that's 24/7 365 days a year...never keeps up with it vacation, equiptment failures, and government water run-off regulations mean Federal Inspectors at least once a month to fine him if things are not perfect.
        He is a fool to take all this abuse but it's the family farm and he wants to die on it...
        Only this type of person will put in the hours to endure this Hell.
        It's so easy to have a 'pie in the sky solution to a problem when you do not understand it fully...this blog is full of university students who will find out what life is all about later...LOL

      • conchop

        You might want to take a look at the "numbers" and opportunities for AG in WV. We are sending billions of dollars out of State for food.

        Its hard work, but these days, there is a resurgence in interest for locally grown foods, organic foods, and in home gardening. All this tallies to the chance to keep those billions in State.

        Industrial AG HEMP is also being reintroduced to WV. If the "powers that be" ever get their act together, there will be millions of dollars invested in new factories, mills, refineries, and associated spin off businesses - those investments will be betting on billions more in business.

      • JJ

        Sabrina it's possible to grow much more than just coal in those mountains, we could always fill the deep pits from mountain top removal with water and raise enough fish to feed the country for centuries, but it takes work and people with a vision not just crying and moaning.

        Good point Agriculture you have Vision hope others get it too in WV or we will all just sit in the dark and wait for uncle sugar to send us a check while we lay in the hollers letting moss grow on our backs afraid to get up and work at something other than coal.

  • Jnape

    I dont think the same folks will be in charge in 2017, let alone 2030. Obama appointee mandates and exec orders will be pretty impotent soon if you folks consider before you VOTE.

  • Dan

    One point everyone has missed! When Russia and China conquers our Obama welfare state at least they will have clean air to breathe. PS, the American dream is still alive,any idiot can grow up to be president,Obama is living proof!

  • Steven adkins

    I find it ironic that now the UMWA wants to complain about the things Obama is doing after upholding him and backing him in the elections

  • David

    Just remember Natalie Tennant supports Obama on this 100%

    She wants to put coal out of business just as bad...

  • Aaron Sutch

    It is time for West Virginia to diversify its fuel sources and start creating lasting economic opportunity for its citizens. The EPA rules will allow flexibility to use renewable energy and efficiency to create jobs, improve public health and ensure a safe future for our children.


      Amen! Amen, I say to you. Reliance on the chemical industry has crushed Charleston and reliance on coal is crushing West Virginia. Any reasonably intelligent person understands that concentration in any revenue source is risky, and created exposure to change. Coal owns WV in good times and bad times. It owns business, it owns government, it owns politicians, it owns workers, it owns the health and welfare of the citizenry, it owns the left and it owns the right, conservative, liberal, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Evangelical, it owns the somehow can not find a way to be a good steward of what it owns and is manipulated by all sides.....and it never seems to go anywhere in a positive direction. Change is way overdue in WV.

  • chris

    Well then get busy tomblin! Think about the research, development and more work you'd be creating over the next 15 years to get into levels that might help undeniable impact we create. How is this so hard to understand, that it's a win win if you just stop being an obstructionist? Failure to act will doom the industry anyways.

  • Steve

    This is terrible for west Virginia's economy I hate what's happening, but the United states is not walking alone Europe has been cutting their emissions for years, even though, Germany is going back to coal and slowing there progress towards climate change policy. Also China is placing a cap emission in 2016.

    • Gary Karstens

      Good! Environment first.....we all have to live in it.

  • Richard Hertzer

    Feds want us to be in the dark more so than at the present time. If this EPA stronghanding goes through,there will be power interruptions, in the future, for days at a time here in WV. Sad too, cuz this state produces the second most coal in the US and is the largest exporter of electricity. And you can bet those dishonorable tyrants in DC wont be going without. But we are a state living in morbid terms. More folks die here everyday than are born here. Drugs addiction and lack of motivation to perform prosperous activities are at an all time high here. Wages for low earners are extremely depressed. The lowest in the nation. I propose a fund similar to the permanent fund Alaska has for its residents. This one funded from coal and gas. We all deserve better in this state. It is too beautiful and uniquely precious too squander the way we have allowed. God bless WV !!