WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, spoke on the Senate floor today about the president’s so-called “Clean Power Plan,” which forces states like West Virginia away from affordable, reliable energy and will put countless Americans out of work. In May, Senator Capito introduced the ARENA Act to roll back the harmful “Clean Power Plan,” and tomorrow the full EPW Committee is scheduled to markup the bill at 10:00 a.m. Learn more here.
Watch Senator Capito's floor speech here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mister President -
“Yesterday, President Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency announced their final Clean Power Grab, continuing the economic assault on energy-producing states like West Virginia.
“Yesterday, Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal producers in the country, filed for bankruptcy. As of the end of 2014, Alpha had 4870 employees at 33 active mines and 13 prep plants in West Virginia. Alpha follows Patriot Coal, Jim Walter Resources and James River mining - all of which have filed bankruptcy since 2014.
“According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, coal mining employment has dropped from 143,437 in 2011 to 98,310 in the first quarter this year. That represents a 31 percent drop in just the last four years.
“Earlier this year when Murray Energy announced hundreds of layoffs in Northern West Virginia, the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper reported that the impact would be mean almost $62 million in annual lost wages for Ohio Valley residents.
“Other communities have also been hard hit. Nicholas County was forced to lay off sheriff’s deputies because of a decline in coal severance revenues.
“17 coal units in West Virginia have retired due, at least in part, to EPA policies. The electricity produced by these units is enough to power 2.7 million homes. Put another way, the units already closed in West Virginia would generate enough electricity to power the entire state of Hawaii.
“These are not the same old talking points.
“This is not ‘stale.’
“This is not motivated by ‘special interests.’
“These are real Americans, real jobs, real families and real communities that have been negatively impacted by this administration’s overreaching regulations.
“People like Tammy Rowan of Coalton, West Virginia who wrote me a letter: ‘My whole family has concerns with the regulations that seem to be out of control. EPA, government officials and the president are putting families out of work.’
“Or Patrick Sparks in Warriormine, West Virginia, who said, ‘I know the EPA has been trying to force strict regulations on coal. It's hurting a lot of people, not just here in West Virginia, but a lot of businesses are suffering from it.’
“And Theresa Simmons of Tridelphia, West Virginia. Her family has worked in coal mines for generations. She wrote, ‘My husband was able to provide for our family with just his income. We were able to donate money to local charities and help needy families around the holidays. Now that is going to be my family, looking for donations.’
“Put simply, yesterday’s announcement will make an already bleak economic picture in my state much worse.
“Working families across the nation woke up to the sad news that their jobs don’t count.
“Much has been said about the open process that led to this final rule. In fact, West Virginia, one of the most deeply affected states, was not even visited by the EPA.
“Instead, they went to cities like Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Talk about special interests. Talk about being bold.
“The administration’s final Clean Power Grab will force states away from affordable, reliable energy towards expensive, intermittent power sources, many of which are heavily subsidized.