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Rep. David B. McKinley to continue fight for fossil fuels

Joselyn King COAL IS KING — U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., stands beside a photo of a coal miner and a young girl Wednesday in his Wheeling office. McKinley said his mission this term is to make sure others are aware how communities could be affected by the United States cutting back on fossil fuels.

WHEELING — U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley wonders what will happen to communities such as Cadiz if gas, coal and fossil fuel production is stopped by Biden administration policies.

McKinley, R-W.Va., serves as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change.

He said his greatest challenge this term in the House is making others aware how their jobs and communities will be affected if the administration is successful in making its goal to eliminate coal-fired electrical plants by 2035 a reality.

“The Biden administration is serious about cutting back on fossil fuels,” McKinley said. “But I don’t think they’ve related yet to how communities are so dependent (on the industry.)”

“What happens in Cadiz, Ohio or Welch, West Virginia if we can’t process gas?” he asked. “These are real people with real lives, and we need to make sure people understand that. Right now they don’t.

“That is where we are going to spend our most time, helping them to understand these are not abstract — these are people.”

States such as West Virginia, Ohio, Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota see 30 percent of their property tax income coming from fossil fuel producers, McKinley said. If a coal burning power plant in these communities shuts down, that results in a 30-percent loss.

“Lets not abandon our fossil fuels. Lets work on them to clean them up,” McKinley said. “I know it can be done.

“My role right now is to make people aware that we are eventually going to get to the renewables,” McKinley said. “But what do we do with those communities that depend on these renewables?”

People in areas like New York City and Chicago “can’t grasp where their power is coming from,” he said.

“We have to make sure we are going to personalize it and make sure people are aware these are people’s jobs that are getting decimated,” McKinley said. “And don’t tell me — like (Special Presidential Envoy for Climate) John Kerry has — that we will make windmills. That’s not going to happen, and he knows it.

“Most windmills are made in China now. Are we telling people they’re going to have to relocate to China now? It’s just not going to happen.”

In Alaska, 70 percent of state revenue comes from oil and fossil fuels, according to McKinley. Wyoming gets 52 percent of its state revenue from fossils fuels, mostly coal, he said.

West Virginia’s revenue from fossil fuels was once at about 50 percent, but is now at about 30 percent, he said.

“If you put this regulation in effect, what are you going to do to these economies?” McKinley asked. “That lost revenue — that’s how they run their schools, their health departments, their emergency services and their police and pension funds.

“They’re all funded through state government, and if you lose all your money in state government, what do you do? Don’t insult us by saying you’ll make solar panels and windmills.”

If there were a market for these items, investors would already be there, he said.

McKinley said he also will seek to inform others of the many strides already made by the fossil fuels industries to reduce carbon emissions, which have decreased by 18 percent over the last decade.

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