National debate sends coal worries to West Virginia

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — The coal industry in Appalachia and across the nation is once again under fire.

The United Nations Secretary General now wants to eliminate all coal power plants world-wide. Chubb Insurance, a global investor and insurer of coal companies is getting out of that business. All this follows former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to shut down all coal and natural gas operations in the U.S. by 2030.

None of this is playing well in West Virginia.

“The reality is really simple. Today, in this world today, for us to think we can do without coal is ridiculous. It’s beyond ridiculous,” said Governor Jim Justice (R-West Virginia).

In last week’s Democrat presidential debates, most candidates came out against coal, in favor of clean energy sources such as solar and wind.

“And so we’re very concerned that that mantra, or that ideology, will show results in West Virginia. We have to be cautious,” said State Senate President Mitch Carmichael, (R-Jackson).

Environmentalists in the Mountain State insist wind and solar is the future.

“I say it will generate a growing amount of our electricity. It already is. It will generate new jobs,” said Bill Price with the WV Sierra Club.

The governor said it will take time.

“We all absolutely are all in on the alternative energy sources and everything. But today? It’s absolutely no where close to practical,” continued Governor Justice.

Coal and gas severance taxes account for a large portion of west virgnia’s $511 million dollar revenue increase, that was announced this week.

It may be early in the process but it’s clear that coal, fossil fuel, and energy will be big issues in campaign 2020, at the state and national levels.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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