The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 22, 2013

Supporting coal miners and leading worldwide energy advances

Rahall Report
Rep. Nick J. Rahall

— I oppose and am fighting hard against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unfair and inequitable treatment of coal mining in West Virginia. As part of that effort, I have staunchly supported a series measures intended to rein in the EPA’s overreach and help to protect coal jobs.

I am the author of H.R. 1486, the No Carbon Tax Bill, which would prevent this administration from unilaterally imposing a tax on fossil fuels, including coal. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 2127, a bill that would prevent the EPA from finalizing any regulation imposing an onerous cap on carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired plants until such time as new emissions capture and storage technologies are widely available.

I have long endeavored to ensure that America produces the energy it needs to fuel a strong economy, particularly through the use of coal. But I have also supported a broad energy portfolio that encompasses a wide range of fuels, which would help to shield our economy from spikes and dips in the energy sector and better ensure America’s security.

As part of that effort, I have worked to ensure that coal can address our energy challenges more cleanly, efficiently, and affordably.

I strongly support research and development initiatives aimed at improving the use of coal, and, believing that the U.S. ought to lead that effort and help shape worldwide energy advances, I have fought for more funding at the federal level to underwrite development of cutting-edge coal technologies.

Recently, in the House of Representatives, I supported passage of the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that included funding I requested for coal research programs in Appalachia. The bill also blocks heavy-handed regulatory actions harmful to coal jobs in West Virginia, aiming to ensure that any such proposed changes to regulation would not be done without the input of the public and those people most affected by such proposals, like our coal miners.

This measure helps to put the brakes on the Obama Administration’s ideologically driven and antagonistic approach toward coal and steers us back toward a more balanced and realistic path.

The Energy and Water bill helps to fund the research and development needed to pursue cleaner technologies.

 Among other things, the bill includes funding for the fossil energy program for coal research, which underwrites the development of technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to dramatically reduce the output of emissions that result from burning coal.

Given that coal continues to be an abundant domestic and worldwide energy resource and its use is on the rise globally – in China, for example, its use has grown by 40 percent over the last decade – one thing that coal supporters and coal opponents ought to agree on is that we should continue pursuing every avenue to find more and better ways to burn coal more cleanly and efficiently.

While the rabid extremism in the House budget process has reduced funding for a number of West Virginia priorities, including fossil energy research, I have fought back hard against those cuts and I am pleased to be able to vote for bills that help to restore some of those cuts. But we need to do much more, and I intend to continue to press for higher funding levels.

Long-term investments in our economy and cleaner, cutting-edge coal technologies are critical to ensuring that the United States remains a competitive force in the global economy. We must continue pressing hard for these investments that will help to create new job opportunities in the region and provide a better future for our children and our children’s children.

I will continue pushing back against not only the anti-coal political fervor in Washington, but also reckless and shortsighted budget cuts that would adversely impact the long-term economic well being of our state.

(Rahall represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.)