WASHINGTON - West Virginia's 1st District representative to the House of Representatives is taking issue with a position of the World Bank to limit funding of coal-fired power plants in developing countries.
Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., condemned the plan, saying it will hurt billions of people in developing countries.
"It is widely recognized that coal is the most economical way to produce electricity," McKinley said. "By removing an affordable and abundant energy source, this policy will limit the ability of billions of people in developing countries to emerge from poverty. It runs totally counter to the World Bank's central mission: 'end extreme poverty within a generation and boost shared prosperity.'"
The International Energy Agency estimates that 1.3 billion people, about 20 percent of the world's population, live with no access to electricity. Billions more have inadequate access to energy, McKinley said.
"We are blessed to live in a country where we have electricity whenever we need it and that is wealthy enough to subsidize alternative forms of energy," McKinley said. "For bureaucrats at the World Bank to impose their misplaced environmental beliefs on the developing world - and block a path out of poverty for families in Africa and Asia - is both arrogant and wrong."
Other international energy leaders have criticized the World Bank decision.
"We firmly believe that the World Bank policy will make it more difficult and more expensive for developing countries to use the world's most affordable fuel," said Milton Catelin, CEO, World Coal Association.
McKinley blamed President Obama and efforts to regulate coal.
"Given the anti-coal fervor of the Obama administration, it's no surprise that Obama's nominee as president of the World Bank would pursue a counterproductive policy like this," McKinley said. "Instead of limiting energy sources and dictating to poor countries based on ideological views, the World Bank should be promoting the use of clean coal technology across the globe."