PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Ten members of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce heard little that might encourage them from the federal EPA in Tuesday’s annual meeting with top agency administrators in Philadelphia.
“They tried to stress to us that they don’t sit around and make up rules and regulations but a lot of those are passed to them statutorily,” said Amanda Pasdon, a member of the House of Delegates from Morgantown and the West Virginia Chamber’s director of business development. “They blamed it on another body and just say they are just doing their job and doing what’s been handed to them.”
Members of the state’s business community have had the annual meeting with the EPA’s regional top brass since the 1980s but the relationship has been strained in recent years with increasing regulations on the coal industry and other businesses under the Obama administration.
Pasdon said Tuesday’s meeting with cordial and a good exchange but the EPA was firm.
“More than anything you get the sense they are taking the hard line–‘We’ve given you the rules and we expect you to abide by them,'” Pasdon said.
Recent rules and regulations from the EPA have focused on existing and new coal-fired power plants, which the coal industry has said would further damage the industry. Pasdon said the EPA “didn’t offer a lot of hope” to the coal industry in Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’s another one of those things. They’ve issued the rules to the coal industry and they want them to abide by them,” she said. “(EPA says) coal permits are being slowly renewed these days because they are not meeting the regulatory requirements.”