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Obama's speech shows it's time WV prepares for future

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

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    Political gains are wasted if health changes don't happen

    Friday, September 12 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-09-12 12:00:30 GMT
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
    West Virginia is the most obese state in the world's most obese nation, according to an annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.
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    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
    Our state's natural gas industry is growing in amazing ways. Just this week, it was announced that Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and AGL Resources are proposing a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with natural gas supplies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
  • Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.

President Barack Obama is charging full steam ahead in his so-called war on coal. On Tuesday, he trotted out The President's Climate Action Plan. Some key provisions include:

 

  • Further empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to complete carbon emission standards for existing and new power plants.
  • Preparing the nation for the effects of climate change through climate-resilient infrastructure, protecting the economy and natural resources and supporting climate science.
  • Limiting emissions from power plants.

 

Obama is attempting to dodge controversies generated by the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department. This speech seems like a convenient distraction and a way to shore up support among his liberal base. His plans are clearly going to have a negative impact on West Virginia families and those who rely on mining for their livelihoods. Coal is king in the Mountain State, and what we produce here truly powers this country, yet those in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere must think their computers, cell phones, televisions and air conditioners come on by magic.

Despite the fact that politics and pandering is trumping common sense, West Virginia needs to be realistic about what is happening and plan accordingly. For generations, our elected leaders could fall back on coal production and the jobs and revenue it produces. Those times may be coming to an end, which means West Virginia has to act. We can either paddle upstream or we can embrace this challenge and diversify our economy. Hopefully, coal will always be a part of our economic portfolio, but we have to do something to open this state for all kinds of investment, not just for those looking to get what's below our feet. Our elected leaders need to wake up and see what's coming our way.

We waste time toying around the edges of real reform. Taxes, education and the judicial system have all been tinkered with in the past, but that's not going to get it done. If this state is to remain viable, we need to create an environment where prosperity can thrive and our people have a shot at a better life. We need a tax code that reflects life in a global economy, schools that prepare our young people for the 21st century and courts that put justice over politics. We know where the president stands and we know where the bureaucrats stand – it's up to us to move forward.