Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to provide an update on the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's (WVDEP) remediation efforts and the state's continued recovery following the January 9 Elk River chemical spill.
"Since January 9, we have been working day-in, day-out to ensure public health and safety for the 300,000 West Virginians affected by the Elk River chemical spill," Gov. Tomblin said. "This event is not only a significant public health issue, but also an environmental and economic development issue. I am grateful for the help from the EPA and our federal partners who have provided us with guidance and who have been with us every step of the way."
During the meeting, the Governor also shared recommendations for establishing carbon dioxide emission guidelines for existing power plants.
"We understand the importance of environmental stewardship and are committed to preserving our state's beauty for generations to enjoy," Gov. Tomblin said. "We also understand the importance of a hard day's work, but up to this point, I believe there has not been sufficient consideration of the real life adverse consequences of economically unfeasible greenhouse gas regulations on West Virginia and many other states. An unreasonable regulatory structure could destabilize our once reliable power grid, increase energy costs to vulnerable ratepayers, further burden industrial employers, and devastate coal mining families and communities."
The Governor offered to work with EPA officials in developing reasonable standards that balance the environment and economic opportunity.