Some state officials and industry supporters spoke in favor of repealing the Clean Power Plan at a Tuesday rally outside the Capitol where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting it two-day public comment hearings on the proposed repeal.
The West Virginia Coal Association hosted the rally with speakers, including Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead voicing their support of repealing the Clean Power Plan. Some even called Tuesday a day of celebration.
“I think we ought to forever celebrate today,” Chris Hamilton, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, told those who gathered outside the Capitol. “Today shows officially the end of the war on coal from the Trump administration. I think we should always celebrate Nov. 28 going forward.”
Hamilton went on to say he felt the state should celebrate the day President Donald Trump was elected. He reiterated comments he made earlier that day when he spoke in the EPA public hearing applauding Trump and his administration.
“I made remarks earlier that I was not sure Russians had any intervention or anything to do with last year’s election. I think it was divine intervention,” Hamilton said. “And I thank God for President Trump. I thank God for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and I thank God for DOE Energy Secretary Rick Perry.”
The U.S. EPA held the public hearings in three separate meeting rooms in the Capitol Tuesday on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The hearings will continue Wednesday. The hearings in Charleston were the only ones scheduled so far by the EPA on the proposed repeal.
“It’s significant to have the EPA hearing here,” West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said Tuesday. “The only one is right here in coal country. The EPA has never been here to listen to people most affected by policies over the years. It’s a big day for West Virginia.”
State officials who spoke at Tuesday’s rally voiced their support of repealing the plan. Gov. Jim Justice, who supports repeal, was scheduled to speak, but the governor had a family emergency and was unable to attend, according to Justice’s communications director, Butch Antolini.
“My goal over the next few years in whatever capacity I serve in is to go after this,” he said.
Carmichael and Armstead also spoke in favor of repeal and welcomed EPA officials to the Capitol.
“It’s exciting to have the EPA here today,” Armstead said. “Time and time again, we’ve said to the EPA to come to West Virginia, to come to the area affected with regulations. Listen to the people affected. Listen to the people who have jobs in this state … Finally, thanks to President Trump, this has happened.”
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