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Local leaders oppose new environmental restrictions

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014, 06:35 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. -- West Virginia lawmakers are vowing to fight new environmental restrictions proposed by the Obama Administration, saying they could cost thousands of people their jobs.
It’s called the Clean Power Plan. It’s meant to protect our health and environment. But it could transform the power industry, which relies greatly on coal in our area, as do thousands of jobs.
For the first time, the EPA is proposing national limits on how much carbon pollution power plants can create, suggesting a 30 percent reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels.
Many West Virginia lawmakers and industry leaders are opposed to the plan, like Eagle Manufacturing President and CEO Joe Eddy.
"I think it’s a continuing attack on coal and jobs in West Virginia,” Eddy said. “It’s an attack on our economy because coal is really our local economy."
Brooke County Commissioner Tim Ennis is also opposed to it.
"Well this will have a devastating effect on West Virginia and the entire coal industry,” he said. “And this will affect every business and ever residential customer of electricity in our state."
Eddy thinks the proposal could effectively eliminate competitive advantages globally.
"As far as manufacturing, manufacturers use one-third of all the energy used in the U.S. We depend on a secure, reliable, and affordable energy source to make sure we can compete in global economy."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that this proposal could raise consumer prices for electricity, kill jobs, and slow economic growth.
“The current power plants, they are going to have to spend additional billions to meet this type of a requirement and I think it will ultimately get passed on to the consumer,” Eddy said. “It will ultimately cost a lot of coal jobs."
That's why West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin and other lawmakers are vowing to fight these new regulations.
"I find it outrageous that this administration will put our country at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to creating opportunities for our young people,” Tomblin said.
How many jobs are we talking about?
One industry expert claims it could cost more than 100,000 workers their jobs during the the next 10 years.
Those on the other side, including West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller said, "the costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of action."
President Obama asked the EPA to finalize its plan in one year. States will then have a year to craft their plans.

Local leaders oppose new environmental restrictions


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