WHEELING - The "war on coal" now has an international front after the World Bank announced it will limit funding of coal-fired power plants in developing countries, Rep. David B. McKinley said.
The move comes as mines in West Virginia and Ohio are increasing the amount of coal they export to foreign nations and the Obama administration seeks to reduce carbon emissions in America.
McKinley, R-Wheeling, said he was "astounded" to hear of the World Bank's policy change. The bank's role is to provide loans at a lower cost to developing nations wanting to improve infrastructure, he said.
"It's pretty obvious this is just one more effort by this administration to curtail the use of coal - not just in the nation, but in the world," McKinley said. "When did we become the world cop? When did he (President Barack Obama) decide to take his ideology around the world and prevent nations from having affordable energy?
"The president is no more the president of the world than we are the congress of the world," he continued, noting the president appoints the director of the World Bank.
McKinley contacted the World Coal Association in London to discuss what action could ensure countries such as Ethiopia and Nicaragua can access funds to help them build power plants and provide needed electricity.
"The core of this goes beyond coal mining," McKinley said. "We're blessed that we have the ability in America to fund alternative sources of energy - biomass, wind and solar. They don't have that opportunity in Ethiopia and other developing nations. There is 20 percent of the world that has no electricity, and many other parts that have undependable electricity.
"It seems the feeling now is, 'We got ours ... and we're not going to let you get the most affordable energy.' Wind and solar are more expensive, and they may not be able to subsidize it the way we can in America," he added.
Countries such as China and India are opening at least one new coal plant a week, according to McKinley, and are burning a lot of coal.
"And the coal-fired power houses they are building are not like the old plants," he continued. "They are new and ... state of the art. The technology is there, and they have highly efficient boilers."