June 25, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Three Republicans representing Virginia's coal-producing region labeled President Barrack Obama's proposals to deal with climate change a "war on coal" that will drive up electric rates and put U.S. manufacturers at a global disadvantage.
U.S. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith said Obama's decision to issue a presidential memorandum to enact the first federal regulations on carbon dioxide emitted by new and existing coal-fired power plants lacks balance and alternatives such as wind and solar cannot fill the gap. He said the policy will mean higher electric bills for all Americans, including those who can least afford them.
"We're hurting the working poor and the poor more than anybody else and that is always lost in these conversations," he said.
Rep. Terry Kilgore called the president's proposals "hard to swallow."
"This war on coal," he said. "We knew it was there, as Congressman Griffith said, and now they've finally admitted that they have a war on coal. We're going to fight for southwest Virginia and Virginia."
Kilgore said the Obama plan will put the U.S. at a manufacturing disadvantage "with the economy the way it is."
Sen. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico, as did Griffith and Kilgore, seized the opportunity to argue that the Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, would work "hand in hand" with the Obama administration on anti-coal initiatives.
"The people of southwest Virginia know that Ken Cuccinelli is the clear choice for us down there," he said.
Cuccinelli, the attorney general, is the Republican nominee for governor.
McAuliffe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other aspects of the Obama plan will boost renewable energy production on federal lands, increase efficiency standards and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.