Senator Rockefeller's Statement Opposing the Imhofe Resolution: "West Virginians Deserve Better"

Senator Rockefeller
June 20, 2012

On June 19, the Senate voted 50-46 to reject a resolution offered by Senator James Imhofe (R OK) under the Congressional Review Act to block the EPA’s Utility MACT Rule. West Virginia’s Senator Jay Rockefeller voted against the resolution, and delivered a statement explaining the basis for his vote. Among other things, Senator Rockefeller points out that it is inaccurate to blame the “job-killing EPA” and the utility MACT rule for closing down many of the nation’s coal plants. Rather, “there also are smaller, older and less efficient coal-fired plants slated for closure, not because of EPA regulations alone, but – as corporate boards decided long ago and companies themselves will tell you – because they are no longer economical as compared to low-emission, cheaper natural gas plants.” He also admonished coal operators who “have yet to step up as strong allies and partners ready to lead, innovate and fight for the future.” The rest of his statement speaks for itself, and is worth repeating here:

“Instead of moving the conversation on coal forward, some in the industry have demanded all-or-nothing, time and again, for the ill-sighted purpose of a sound bite or flashy billboard. These efforts make no progress, they don’t pursue attainable policy change, and they certainly don’t create or save jobs.

Change is upon us – from finite coal reserves and aging power plants, to the rise of natural gas and the very real shift to a lower-carbon economy.

Denying these factors and insisting that the EPA alone is going to make or break coal is dishonest and futile. Feeding fears with insular views and divergent motivations will leave our communities in the dust.

West Virginians deserve better.”