CHARLESTON, W. Va. – It’s would be “lights out” for the coal and natural gas industries in West Virginia and the Appalachian region if former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way. Concerned about climate change, Bloomberg promises to spend 500 million dollars of his own money to end the fossil fuel industry. Governor Justice is strongly opposed.
“Every day that goes by in West Virginia we produce cleaner and cleaner coal. And every day that goes by we are producing more and more clean natural gas. And we cannot afford this level of attack on us,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
Even some West Virginia environmentalists are skeptical. While they want a transition from fossil to more renewable energy sources, it can’t be as drastic as Bloomberg’s promises.
“It’s time I think for a just transition, to a new energy economy so that these communities are not left behind. So these communities are rebuilt,” said Gary Zuckett, West Virginia Citizens Action.
The coal industry is dead set against the Bloomberg plan.
“And it’s just evident that he’s a limousine liberal, by golly. He doesn’t care much about what goes on here or any of the coal producing states,” said Bill Raney, West Virginia Coal Association.
Energy leaders say 64-percent of the nation’s electricity comes from coal and natural gas.
“Michael Bloomberg’s plan is to bypass Congress and send lobbyists to state capitols and city halls around the nation, including West Virginia. Republicans and Democrats here say they’re not likely to get a warm reception,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.