By Liz Beavers
With approximately 90 percent of a typical American's life being spent indoors - whether at home, at work or in other activities - Congressman David McKinley would like to see more of an emphasis on indoor air quality as opposed to the EPA's current focus on outdoor pollutants.
Rep. McKinley, who visited MIneral County Thursday, made stops at the Keyser Senior Center, Keyser City Hall, and the offices of the Mineral Daily News Tribune, where he discussed various issues with publisher Dave Boden and the news staff.
McKinley has been on the forefront of what the State of West Virginia has dubbed the "war on coal," promoting a transportation bill this summer which would have included the provision preventing the regulation of coal ash - a natural byproduct of burning coal.
The bill was passed without McKinley's amendment, but he says he is not finished.
"We're going to do it again, and we'll address the fly ash," he said.
He disagrees with those who say coal is a danger to the health and well-being of the nation.
"They keep talking about the mercury in coal; of course there's mercury in coal," he said, noting that it's an almost negligible amount.
"Until it reaches a certain level, it's not toxic," he said. "It has to be 2,000 times more concentrated than it is."
Using the example of a can of coal ash as compared to a can of tuna fish, McKinley said, "there is three times the amount of mercury in a can of tuna fish than there is in a can of fly ash ... and we eat tuna," he said.
McKinley said the Environmental Protection Agency "needs to quit picking on our industry; they're not the culprit. It's easy to pick on them because of that belching smokestack out there, but the quality of the air indoors needs to be looked at more closely."
The need for more jobs also comes into play with McKinley's crusade for coal.
In September, he and several of his fellow represenatives in the House passed the "Stop the War on Coal Act," which would help protect American jobs and support coal production by prohibiting new rules or regulations that would adversely impact coal mining jobs.
"With 23 million people out of work, the President should be doing all he can to grow jobs. Instead, his administration's war on coal is putting more and more Americans in the unemployment lines," McKinley said in a release.
The Congressman feels that those who have been elected to represent their constituents need to put aside their political differences and work together to tackle these important issues.
"Something apparently got in the water and we've lost our civility in Washington," he said. "We need to cross the political lines and get these things done."
With 23 million people out of work, the President should be doing all he can to grow jobs. Instead, his administration's war on coal is putting more and more Americans in the unemployment lines," said Rep. McKinley.