The following editorial appeared in The Bluefield Daily Telegraph on Nov. 13:
What a difference the state line can make when it comes to politics. On the West Virginia side of the border, lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — are largely united in their challenge against the Obama administration’s crippling, job-killing Clean Power Plan. In fact, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a 23-state legal challenge against the controversial new emission rules.
The region as a whole — both southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia — has been hit hard by mine closures. Thousands of coal miners on both sides of the border have lost their jobs thanks largely in part to the crippling anti-coal regulations coming out of Washington. Coal-fired power plants — like the facility in Glen Lynn — have been shuttered as a result of these new rules.
But you wouldn’t realize that when listening to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. McAuliffe and Herring, Democrats, are also staunch supporters of Obama’s Clean Power Plan. And Herring is actually fighting in support of these new controversial emission rules in court.
That’s right, Herring announced last week that Virginia has joined a coalition of 17 other states and seven municipalities in taking legal action in support of the Clean Power Plan. Really? The gist of the argument from McAuliffe and Herring is that rising sea levels brought on by climate change will soon threaten some coastal communities in Virginia. Herring goes as far as to argue that climate change is an “urgent threat” to the health and safety of residents across Virginia. His comments echo recent climate change doomsday scenarios suggested by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
But what McAuliffe and Herring fail to take into consideration is the great harm that these anti-coal regulations are having on Southwest Virginia. And as governor and attorney general, they are expected to represent the entire state — not just coastal communities.
We are hurting here in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, and in neighboring southern West Virginia. And the ill-advised Clean Power Plan will only cause more economic harm to the coalfield counties.
We are disappointed in the stance McAuliffe and Herring have taken as it relates to the crippling federal regulations. And this move is a direct affront to the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have been vocal in their support of coal and other fossil fuels in recent years, and that support is certainly appreciated.
Unfortunately, we believe the McAuliffe administration is fighting the wrong battle in court when it comes to President Barack Obama’s crippling Clean Power Plan. Residents of Southwest Virginia should be outraged over their actions.