Local lawmakers and others make statements on President Obama climate initiative

Statements given to News 5 reacting to President Obama's climate change address

Congressman Morgan Griffith

"Today's announcement is only the latest effort in this Administration's war on coal, which is – by extension – a war on Southwest Virginia and all coal-producing regions, our economy, our jobs, and our people.  President Obama and his Administration have long been waging this war, but today, his comments and the comments of adviser Daniel P. Schrag saying ‘…a war on coal is exactly what's needed' make it clear that the President wants to destroy the coal industry, the use of coal, and a huge segment of our economy.

"It's not just the coal industry that suffers as a consequence.  These regulations hurt average Americans, because they cause our electric prices to rise.  Not only do the regulations hurt the American people, but when you raise electric prices, you hurt businesses and their ability to create jobs.  Regulations like those being devised by the President hit our electric energy producers, and the electric companies pass the cost on to consumers.  When they pass these costs on to us, it increases expenses for businesses and households throughout the country.

"There is a better way.  We can continue to test new technologies which will allow us to use our abundant coal resources while protecting the environment.

"I believe in American ingenuity and in a truly all-of-the-above energy policy in which we drill, dig, discover, and deregulate, using the resources we have to secure our energy future, keep costs low, and provide jobs to the American people.  The regulations being devised by the President do not make energy more reliable or more affordable, and they do not encourage the economic growth that our country so badly needs.  I along with many of my colleagues in the House will continue our work to get Washington out of the way, tap into our domestic energy resources, and unleash our energy potential." --- Congressman Morgan Griffith (R, 9th District of Virginia)


Congressman Phil Roe

"It comes as no surprise that the president plans to implement these changes without Congressional input and approval," said Roe. "While some American families are struggling to put food on the table, this misguided plan will raise energy costs, continue the president's war on the coal industry and cost billions of dollars. I agree that we must be good stewards of the environment, but this plan is not the answer."-- U.S. Representative Dr. Phil Roe (R, 1st District of Tennessee)  

Virginia House Delegate Terry Kilgore

"For more than four years now, President Barack Obama and his administration have waged war on coal. For more than four years now, he and other Democrats have denied that claim at every turn. Today, they finally admitted the truth.
"One of President Obama's Science & Technology Council Advisors told the New York Times that a war on coal is exactly what is needed. And while the President's speech this afternoon will likely be very subtle, the underlying message will be crystal clear.
"Instead of spending his second term focused on revitalizing a still-struggling economy, President Obama has set his sights on putting America's coal industry out of business and thousands of Virginians out of work. People all across Southwest Virginia have seen their friends, neighbors and family members lose their job because of President Obama's war on coal. At least he's finally willing to take credit for it." --Virginia House Delegate Terry Kilgore (R, 1st District)


Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

"Terry McAuliffe and President Obama are joining together to continue their war on coal, inflicting devastating and unnecessary regulatory burdens on Virginia's coal industry.   Applying new emissions standards to existing coal-fired power plants makes our coal plants shutting down a very real and scary possibility, putting even more Virginians out of work and reducing the capacity of the nation's electric grid. The new plan will also increase energy prices, which will have the greatest impact on the poorest Virginians. It was already clear Terry McAuliffe and President Obama did not want to see coal continue in Virginia, but the announcement today takes the situation a step further, proving they will stop at nothing to advance their liberal agenda, even when the livelihoods of Virginians are at stake." – Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Ted Pile, Alpha Natural Resources

"Costs matter, both for consumers and taxpayers, and we can't be successful economically as a nation without affordable and reliable electricity from coal playing a meaningful role in our energy future.  Putting all our eggs in a few energy sources is risky.  We need to invest even more in innovation across the board, not just in renewables."   --Ted Pile, Alpha Natural Resources spokesperson


Cecil E. Roberts, United Mine Workers of America

    "The climate action plan outlined today by President Obama contains many lofty goals but nothing that speaks to the hardship and suffering his plan would cause to the lives of coal miners, their families and others in the communities where they live.

    "It was disappointing that, as this initiative was being developed over the past several months, no one from the White House reached out to the representatives of the workers who will face the worst of the impacts of these proposals to get our input. I hope we will have that opportunity in the near future, before the language of the rules the administration is proposing is finalized.

    "We continue to believe that coal must be part of a realistic path forward as a reliable source of energy in a reduced-carbon future. We are concerned that this plan fails to include the kind of incentives needed to build that path. That, too, will be a topic of discussion that we intend to have with the administration and members of Congress." ---Cecil E. Roberts, United Mine Workers of America International President


Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain

"I share the concerns of many Virginians about President Obama's announcement of burdensome new regulations on energy providers in the Commonwealth and throughout the country. These new policies were never approved by Congress, they will kill jobs in the energy sector in Southwest Virginia, they will drive energy costs still higher, and they will impose the greatest hardship on working families across the Commonwealth who have already seen their electric bills skyrocket over the past two years.
"When manufacturers decide where to locate, near the top of their list is access and cost of utilities. We must be good stewards of the environment and conserve our natural treasures for the generations to come. However, the President's message today is that he is going to make America less competitive for jobs and economic development. That's the exact wrong approach. As Attorney General, I will stand up for Virginia's laws and interests when they're threatened by overreaching federal regulations. If this administration continues to bypass Congress, it may fall to Attorneys General to serve as a check on executive actions that exceed statutory authority. I will be a tireless advocate for working Virginians and their families when an overreaching federal government oversteps its bounds and seeks to impose ill-conceived policies that will kill jobs and cause energy costs to skyrocket.
"This isn't a partisan issue, it's a Virginia issue. I am going to stand up for Virginia families and businesses and for the economic health and vitality of Virginia in seeking every available avenue to challenge this new example of executive overreach." ---  26th District Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain

Wanda Valentine, Eastman Chemical Company

"Eastman is under separate rules from those of power plants and we are already taking steps to reduce emissions and are even planning to convert part of our coal usage to natural gas." --Wanda Valentine, Eastman Chemical Company spokesperson

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