Posts Tagged ‘David McKinley’

West Virginia’s Representatives

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 - posted by Appalachian Voices

David McKinley (WV-1)


Before serving in Congress, this northwestern West Virginia representative owned a construction and engineering company. As a freshman, McKinley drafted legislation that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing rules to regulate the disposal of coal ash waste. He is currently gathering support for a Congressional Resolution opposing a federal tax on carbon emissions.
District Specs: 18% poverty rate, 45.21% rural, Education level: 20.3% college, 87.8% high school

Shelley Moore Capito (WV-2)

A seventh-term representative for central West Virginia, Capito has deep roots in West Virginia politics, as her father served as the state’s governor for three terms. A co-founder of the Congressional Coal Caucus, Capito has fought on behalf of the coal industry against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and supports the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
District Specs: 18% poverty rate, 48.81% rural, Education level: 20.1% college, 85.5% high school

Nick Rahall (WV-03)

Rahall is a long-serving representative from southern West Virginia, and is the ranking member of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In the 1970s, Congressman Rahall helped draft and pass the federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act. He has compared federal efforts to protect citizens from coal pollution to a “terrorist threat,” while single-handedly blocking the bipartisan Clean Water Protection Act, which he claimed would have over 400 votes in the House if he wasn’t standing in the way. Although Rahall has stated that West Virginia should support green job development due to declining coal reserves, he reverted to a hardline pro-coal stance after the coal lobby publicly questioned his allegiance and worked to defeat him in Congress.
District specs: 21% poverty rate, 59.84% rural, Education level: 15% college, 79.4% high school

Dangerous Coal Ash Ponds Extremely Common

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 - posted by thom

There should be zero “significant” hazard coal ash ponds in the United States. The catastrophic collapse of TVA’s Kingston coal ash pond should be a one-time event. Congress should be fighting to protect citizens from another spill.

Unfortunately, there are 181 “significant” hazard coal ash ponds, according to EPA’s latest assessment of coal combustion waste impoundments across the country. A “significant” hazard coal ash pond, based on criteria from the National Inventory of Dams (NID), “can cause economic loss, environmental damage, disruption of lifeline facilities, or impact other concerns.” In 2009, the EPA reported only 60 such ash ponds. What’s worse is that there are 47 “high” hazard coal ash ponds, and the failure of any one of them would likely lead to loss of human life.

In other words, there is no reason to believe that the spill in Kingston, Tennessee in 2008, which released a billion gallons of toxic coal sludge over 300 acres of land, was a one-time event. There are no federal regulations for coal ash ponds, just a patchwork of weak and often unenforced state regulations.

The EPA is trying to do something about this, but people like Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) have fought to stop them. He sponsored a bill that would prohibit EPA from creating federally enforceable guidelines for safer coal ash storage. The bill passed the House and is on the way to the Senate, where Appalachian Voices is working with allies to defeat it.

The pro-coal bill is being pushed by big utilities and coal companies, touting a false jobs argument while protecting their profits at the expense of the public. In truth, they like coal ash ponds because they are cheap ways to dispose of ash and do not create jobs they have to pay for.

Though I suppose that’s not always the case: the Kingston spill has cost $1 Billion, and, over two years later, still employs 450 people six days a week to clean it up. So for those of you at home keeping count, that’s 550 workers in Tennessee shoveling coal out of the ground, and 450 workers scooping toxic coal sludge off the ground.