Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday blasting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not visiting coal-reliant West Virginia before unveiling power plant regulations that could eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide and raise electricity costs by billions annually.
Capito noted in her letter that the EPA held 11 public listening sessions last fall to discuss the proposed regulations but avoided West Virginia, as well as several other states that heavily rely on coal for electricity generation:
Washington should not pick winners and losers in the energy economy. Even worse, if your administration goes forward with a plan similar to the one expected by many published reports, it will have chosen these winners and losers without so much as listening to the opinions of the Americans who will be harmed.
Capito also mentioned a study released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, which found that the regulations could lead to more than 200,000 fewer jobs on average each year through 2030. Consumers could pay $289 billion more for electricity through 2030:
I urge you to consider the impact that your administration’s existing coal plant rule will have on the people of my state of West Virginia who want to go to work, provide for their families, and produce affordable energy that powers our economy. I urge you to think of the impact that higher electricity prices will have on senior citizens and others on fixed incomes. I urge you to step back and listen to the voices of those who will be harmed the most by the EPA’s rulemaking and avoid proposing a rule that will destroy economic opportunity in West Virginia and across our country.
Capito is squaring off against Democrat Natalie Tennant in the midterm elections to fill the Senate seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The influential West Virginia Coal Association recently endorsed Capito for combating "Washington’s war on coal."