Like you, I'm concerned about the rising cost of energy. Fortunately, we have an answer to the nation's energy crisis right here in our backyard. Today, coal provides 98% of our electricity in West Virginia and powers roughly half of the nation's electricity needs.
Sadly, liberals in Washington and Charleston have a launched a war on coal, and they won't stop until the industry is eliminated. Almost 30,000 West Virginians work directly in the coal industry and tens of thousands of more West Virginians work in industries supported by coal mining.
And now, radical extremists have turned their sights on our state's natural gas industry. They're fighting to destroy an industry that has the potential to create thousands of West Virginia jobs in the next few years.
If we allow these Washington politicians and others who oppose American energy solutions to win, our country will be forced to turn to foreign countries to fuel our energy needs. Simply put, we need more American energy jobs, not more expensive foreign oil.
Here at home, I've been a vocal opponent of any cap and trade plan advanced by out-of-touch liberals in Congress. And in the House of Delegates, I voted against West Virginia's radical cap and trade bill that drastically cuts the amount of coal that can be used to supply electricity to West Virginia homes and businesses. When we start limiting the amount of coal that can be used in West Virginia, we start limiting the number of jobs in West Virginia.
I support efforts by Congressional Republicans to reign in the regulatory excesses of the EPA and other governmental agencies. Instead of destroying one of the nation's most abundant and reliable energy sources, we should be encouraging its development.
To that end, I will continue working with my West Virginia energy jobs-friendly colleagues in Washington to end the regulatory attack on our state's coal industry.