CHARLESTON – State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who campaigned last year on a promise to fight federal overreach, says President Barack Obama’s plan to fight climate change will keep West Virginia in poverty.

On June 25, Obama gave a midday speech to announce his plan against climate change will include a series of executive actions. Morrisey responded that he is disappointed Obama has decided to bypass Congress.

“The President said today he wanted to make the United States a global leader in the war against climate change,” Morrisey said.

“But his battle plan will lead West Virginia further into an abyss of poverty, putting thousands of jobs at risk and putting the state’s budget in jeopardy.”

Fellow Republican David McKinley, who represents the state’s First Congressional District, said the plan to issue new regulations on coal-fired power plants is the latest in a war on coal Obama began when he was first elected.

“For years the Obama administration has denied waging a war on coal, despite dozens of actions that indicate otherwise,” McKinley said.

“Emblematic of the President’s aversion to coal, one of his energy advisors was quoted today saying ‘a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.’ But tell that to the thousands of miners who will no longer be able to provide for their families, or the senior on a fixed income whose electric bill will go up.”

Obama’s plan aims to cut carbon pollution, which he says will keep air and water clean. He also hopes to spark clean energy innovation.

Parts of his plan include:

-The Environmental Protection Agency working with states and the energy industry to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants;

-Making $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects;

-Directing the Department of the Interior to permit enough renewables projects – like wind and solar – on public lands to power more than six million homes by 2020; and

-A reduction of carbon pollution by at least three billion metric tons by 2030.

“The problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity. These critics seem to think when we ask these businesses to innovate and decrease pollution and lead, they can’t or they won’t do it. They’ll just kind of give up and quit. But in America, we know that’s not true,” Obama said.

“The old rules may say we can’t protect our environment and promote economic growth at the same time, but in America we’ve always used new technology, we’ve used science, we’ve used research and development and discovery to make the old rules obsolete.”

Obama added that his plan doesn’t mean that the country is going to immediately stop using fossil fuels like coal. The economy wouldn’t run very well if it did, he said.

Morrisey promised to review every word of the proposals to determine how West Virginia can fight back.

“Since West Virginia is ground zero in the Administration’s callous plans to expand poverty, our state must do everything possible to prevent violations of the Constitution and the rule of law,” Morrisey said. “Our children deserve that and more.”

Morrisey singled out Obama’s plan to impose regulations on emissions from existing coal-fired plants.

“These regulations directly attack mining and our state,” Morrisey said.

“Amazingly, the President doesn’t seem to see any future for coal in the American economy, or the global economy. These regulations, if left unchecked, will doom West Virginia to continue on its cycle of poverty.”

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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