By Jess Mancini
The president's climate change speech on Tuesday was misguided and misinformed, according to criticisms by lawmakers from Ohio and West Virginia.
President Barack Obama at Georgetown University announced a presidential directive to implement regulations impacting carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants and bypassing Congress.
"Today's announcement is another move in the president's tyrannical game of picking winners and losers in the energy industry," said U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.. "Instead of supporting an all-of-the-above plan, President Obama's devastating regulations will shut down existing coal plants and halt the development of clean coal technology facilities. Not only will this decision hamstring our nation's ability to become energy independent, but it will prove devastating for American workers and consumers."
President Barack Obama gestures during a speech on climate change at Georgetown University on Tuesday in Washington. Obama is proposing sweeping steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and to boost renewable energy production on federal property. (AP Photo)
U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., said the policy is misguided, misinformed and untenable.
"Locking away the fuels that power our nation behind ideologically imposed barriers will drive up costs for nearly every business and manner of industrial activity while driving jobs overseas," he said. "Households already struggling to make ends meet will see energy bills skyrocket."
The president since his election has "waged an unrelenting war against coal," said U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.
"Imposing ideologically motivated and unrealistic regulations makes it difficult to strike a balance between protecting the environment and utilizing the energy our economy needs," he said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in his statement said he "slammed" Obama's proposal.
"The regulations the president wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it's not feasible, it's not reasonable," Manchin said.
"It's clear now that the president has declared a war on coal. It's simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology," Manchin said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, also said Obama "recklessly escalated his War on Coal." The president's plan will cost jobs, drive up costs and make America more dependent on foreign sources of fuel, he said.
"While I certainly agree that we should embrace alternative energies, they cannot be the only sources we rely on to power our economy," Johnson said. "Coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power are the primary sources in our overall energy profile. President Obama made it quite clear today that he does not support the traditional energy sources that have met our primary energy needs for decades, and can meet them for generations to come," he said.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he long believed the science was real and the nation needs to address climate change and Congress should be working to develop an energy policy that protects families, grows the economy and creates jobs.
"Instead we have been stuck in deep partisan gridlock," he said. "I understand the President wants to move forward on climate change, but his remarks today were short on details, and those details matter in the lives of West Virginians.
"Any action on climate change is going to have a direct effect on the lives of our mining communities that are already facing great uncertainties, and on the pocketbooks of every one of our middle-class families still dealing with a recovering job market. We need more from the President to assure our miners and working families they're part of this plan," Rockefeller said.
Rockefeller said a timeline, a cost estimate and an understanding on how communities that have relied on coal are going to be supported once these proposals take effect are needed.
"I'm deeply concerned that, in its current form, there's not enough emphasis in the President's plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation," he said. "And, any roadmap to deal with our future energy needs must include the promise of clean coal. Our demand for energy can't be met without it."