Candidates address state energy, manufacturing forum in Wheeling
WHEELING — Republican West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bill Cole said in Wheeling Wednesday the role of government should be to partner with job creators, and not impede development with excessive regulation.
Cole and Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., each addressed the West Virginia Energy and Manufacturing Forum Wednesday at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge.
Cole, of Mercer County, serves as president of the West Virginia Senate. He said in West Virginia there are 230 regulatory boards, compared to 90 in most other states. The sole role of these boards is to set regulations and fees on industry, according to Cole.
“Any rule or regulation should have to do with the public’s health, safety and welfare,” he said. “But we get in so much deeper than that, and (we’ve) got to get out of it. We have to stop feeing everybody to death.”
Cole said federal government creates enough regulations, and there’s no need for the state to “pile on it.”
“It’s real easy to say we’ll never have a rule or regulation that exceeds what the federal one is. Federal government is doing a great job destroying us already. … My job will be to create an atmosphere that makes West Virginia the obvious choice for investment,” Cole said.
He added there is a good reason cracker plants have been proposed in nearby Belmont County in Ohio and in Pennsylvania.
“We have work to do here, and we will get that done immediately,” Cole said.
McKinley said the Obama administration has ignored the effects environmental regulations on coal and natural gas production will have on jobs.
The results have also raised West Virginia’s energy costs, according to McKinley. He said energy costs in the state and across the state have gone up 78 percent since Obama took office eight years ago.
“He has fundamentally transformed the way we produce and utilize energy in this country … ,” he said. “We’ve also seen the demise of the manufacturing and industrial base in this country. We’re only growing at a 2-percent growth rate. You’ve got to watch your regulations.”