EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWV Democrats Say Meeting With EPA Head Was Productive
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Aug. 2, 2013 2:57 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 4, 2013 11:43 PM EDT
A group of Democratic West Virginia elected officials journeyed to the nation's capital Thursday to plead the case for the coal industry.
The group made their way into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a meeting with new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy.
Unlike her predecessor Lisa Jackson, McCarthy invited the West Virginians to sit down and talk about the impact of environmental regulations on coal mining.
“I thought it was a very productive meeting,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “I thought we were able to sit across the table, talk as adults about issues and develop a relationship where at least we'll have some give and take, hopefully.”
Although the two sides remain far apart in how to handle the mining of coal and the emissions from coal-fired power plants, members of the delegation said they are encouraged by McCarthy's willingness to look for compromise on the issues.
“It's the second time in as many weeks that I've met with Administrator McCarthy,” U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall said. “The first time, the day before she was confirmed by the Senate, and there's certainly a different attitude emanating from EPA than what we've had the previous four or five years.”
West Virginia Speaker of the House Tim Miley also felt the meeting was productive.
“I hope I don't sound too naïve, but I'm very encouraged by the willingness of the new EPA director, Gina McCarthy, to be willing to sit down with us and listen to our concerns,” Miley said.
Group members, which included U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio and the West Virginia Coal Association's Chris Hamilton told McCarthy that coal is an affordable, reliable energy source the U.S. will need for decades to come, and said trying to regulate it out of existence makes no sense.
“She said we need to hit the reset button,” Puccio said. “We need to work together, and that's what we're asking for. I think you're going to see good things.”
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