ROANOKE, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin believes developing and presenting a state plan to meet federal carbon emission limits is better than the alternative.
“The EPA will say ‘Okay, if you don’t have a plan, you’ll go by our plan,’ and I think I’d prefer to have a plan in place when the time comes,” Tomblin said. “If they don’t agree with it, we’ll at least have a starting point where we can talk.”
As UWMA President Cecil Roberts suggested earlier Tuesday at the Governor’s Energy Summit, it is the Tomblin administration’s intent to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan while a legal challenge to the regulations goes through the court system.
Also, as suggested by Roberts on Tuesday’s “Talkline”, the state is looking into applying for a two year extension, allowing for more time to create the best plan by 2018.
“We’re having those discussions with DEP right now,” Tomblin said.
Due next year without the waiver, the submission will first have to be approved by the Legislature after the passage of H.B. 2004 in the most recent session.
This doesn’t worry Tomblin, as he believes they can create a plan that works for West Virginia, even if it doesn’t hit the 32 percent average emission cut before 2030 on first presentation.
“I think that if we can show that we put a lot of time and study into a plan for West Virginia, we would have a better chance of lessening the pain they may inflict on us.”
Opponents of the Clean Power Plan have called on Tomblin to opt out of the process while the legal challenge to the rule —filed earlier in October by 25 states– claiming adoption could harm that challenge.
Tomblin does not agree entirely with that sentiment and believes the energy industry will continue to play an important role in the state with the addition of newer sectors.
“We’re blessed to have coal, natural gas, water, which has been traditional, but also we’ve got a lot of wind energy and a lot of solar energy with millions of dollars invested over the last several years in it.”