CHARLESTON, WV –
Gov. Jim Justice and leaders from across West Virginia’s energy industries banded together today at the State Capitol, denouncing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s war on coal and attack on working West Virginians.
Bloomberg recently vowed to devote $500 million on efforts to close all of America’s coal-fired power plants and to stop the construction of natural gas power plants.
“We cannot afford this kind of attack on us,” Gov. Justice said. “This singlehandedly destroys West Virginia – our great coal mining families, our great pipeline people, our great oil and gas people, everything.
“His end goal is to extinguish fossil fuels,” Gov. Justice said. “And if that happens to us, we’re back in the dark ages.”
The governor was joined by leaders from the West Virginia Coal Association, First Energy, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, and the West Virginia Business and Industry Council, all of whom came together in the Governor’s Reception Room in opposition of Bloomberg’s plan.
“It’s an absolute attack on our state, it’s an attack on West Virginian families, it’s an attack on virtually our livelihoods here and it probably impacts north of 100,000 people collectively here within the state,” said Chris Hamilton of the West Virginia Coal Association and the West Virginia Business and Industry Council. “It’s un-American that someone would use their wealth to try to destroy a major fabric of our nation and state’s industrial base and try to put people out of work.”
Bloomberg has said his pledge of $500 million will go directly toward the Beyond Carbon initiative, a campaign in partnership with the Sierra Club, to close all of America’s coal-fired power plants and to stop the construction of natural gas power plants within the next decade.
“It’s awful for somebody to stand outside West Virginia and want to destroy our economy,” West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said. “Between the governor and President Trump and the legislative leadership we’re beginning to get our feet back under us here and we don’t need this sort of thing.”
“This is an attack on affordable energy in my opinion,” Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia Executive Director Charlie Byrd said. “I don’t prefer to be huddled up, freezing to death in the dark. I like to be warm in the winter and I like to have light when it gets dark if I choose to have light.”
“We’ve just gone through the God-awfullest war on coal for the last eight years prior to President Trump and it almost killed us,” Gov. Justice said. “And we’re just crawling out of that terrible deal and, now, here we go again.
“At some point and time we gotta make a stand.” Gov. Justice said. “I can’t see in any way, shape, form, or fashion…we need to let some bubble boy, that’s in New York, that’s giving a fraction of his money, destroy us.”