Coal-country lawmaker grills EPA chief over climate-change agenda

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U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) recently told Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy that the administration's efforts to downsize the coal industry in the interest of clean-energy goals is choking his state's economy and invited her to visit the state and witness the effects of this policy.

“Administrator, West Virginians are a proud people," Jenkins said. "We want to work. We want to provide a better future for our children. Let us do the work we have done for generations – work that provides good paychecks and keeps the lights on. And until you actually visit the coalfields of West Virginia, you will never understand the impact of your actions.”

McCarthy recently testified before a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, during which Jenkins made these comments, which were his response to the EPA’s fiscal year 2017 budget request. He asked her point blank whether she ever visited West Virginia since she first began running the EPA in 2013.

“I cannot recall,” McCarthy said.

Jenkins shot back, “I know you were invited, so since you refuse to come to West Virginia, you simply don’t understand, in my opinion, how your agency has devastated my state. Here’s what life is like for many families in Southern West Virginia: Coal jobs have plunged more than 50 percent in just the last five years."

Jenkins said the climate-change agenda is taking a human toll.

“Regardless of one’s belief in the president’s climate-change agenda, his drive, your drive to succeed has been devastating to the people of West Virginia and to the tens of thousands of others across this country who work to fuel this nation,” Jenkins said.

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