Yesterday I witnessed an award-winning political stunt attacking the EPA in defense of Big Coal. Representatives Griffith (VA), Roe (TN), and Whitfield (KY) led a field hearing in Abingdon, VA part of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power series meant to investigate the EPA’s new greenhouse gas emission standards. The congressmen stated that Abingdon was chosen for the hearing since coalfields residents are the ones who will ultimately suffer from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standards (NSPS).
It seems our representatives had forgotten about the thousands of Americans who suffer from asthma attacks triggered by smog worsened from coal plant emissions. Or perhaps they haven’t read the news about record high temperatures leading to larger wildfires and more extreme droughts in the US. For years we have known climate change is real and now taking effect. That’s why 72% of polled Americans support carbon limits (ALA). That’s why the Supreme Court upheld the EPA’s right to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act in 2007 and requested a progressive plan be set forth. And that’s what the EPA is doing.
Morgan Griffith said he was happy to see “that the people of Southwest Virginia have this opportunity to add their voices to the conversation about the Obama Administration’s energy policies,” but, I’m sure he wasn’t pleased to see over 50 citizens holding signs in support of EPA’s carbon limits. We sent a clear message that Appalachia would benefit much more from hearings focused on renewable energy jobs, overall regional economic diversification, and leadership to reduce carbon pollution linked to climate change and smog. I guess that’s too progressive for Mr. Griffith and the coal companies that fund him.