McKinley: Research, not elimination, needed on coal

PARKERSBURG — A former New York City mayor’s pledge to spend $500 million on the Beyond Carbon initiative would be better spent on research into cleaner-burning fuels, a West Virginia congressman said Tuesday.

Michael Bloomberg Friday said he’ll spend the half billion dollars on the Beyond Carbon campaign aimed at closing coal- and natural gas-fired plants, major industries in West Virginia.

“People like Michael Bloomberg forget that when they attack the fossil fuel industry, they are really attacking our natural gas workers and decimating coal miners, machinists, railroad workers, truckers and their families and communities that rely on those industries,” Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said.

Bloomberg’s call against coal and natural gas prompted a press conference Monday by Gov. Jim Justice, who said “we’re back in the dark ages” if he’s successful.

“Bloomberg’s latest $500 million pledge to ‘finish off’ coal and natural gas is just another example of how out of touch with working Americans the liberal elites are,” McKinley said. “Instead of attacking hard-working people who are just trying to provide for their families, this money would be better spent on research to utilize fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”

Beyond Carbon will bypass Washington where there is political division over climate change and take the initiative to local governments and communities.

The promise to close coal plants “will only serve to hurt coal miners and their families, as well as further devastate West Virginia communities that are suffering from the downturn in coal production and does nothing to address the global nature of the climate crisis,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.

“Furthermore, the International Energy Agency predicts that, under current policy scenarios, China and India will continue to use coal-fired generation for up to 51 percent and 57 percent of their power, respectively, through 2040,” Manchin said. “The average age of a coal plant in Asia is 12 years. These plants are very new. While these nations are making strides to reduce emissions, their reliance on fossil fuels is not ending anytime soon.”

The U.S. must lead in seeking innovative and realistic technological solutions to capture carbon, Manchin said.

“I would hope that Mayor Bloomberg would choose to apply the same amount of energy and money into global climate solutions that help all Americans and the world, such as new carbon capture utilization and sequestration technologies,” Manchin said.

Bloomberg has spent a lot of money against coal, but Beyond Carbon is anti-coal and anti-natural gas, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said.

“This initiative would put more West Virginians out of jobs and would destroy our economy in the process,” she said. “I believe we can have it both ways by continuing to expand research and development to reduce emissions and advance environmentally responsible policies that grow the economy.”

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