By Brad McElhinny
June 10, 2019 - West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, whose family owns significant coal holdings, is taking umbrage to a pledge by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg last week said he would donate $500 million to a new campaign to close every coal-fired power plant in the United States and stop the growth of natural gas.
Justice, who is running for re-election in 2020, put out a statement in opposition to Bloomberg’s proposal and also announced a gathering at the Capitol on Monday with representatives of the coal and gas industries.
“Michael Bloomberg and the radical Sierra Club organization have declared war on the American worker. If this campaign is successful, massive numbers of West Virginians will lose their livelihoods and the U.S. economy will suffer greatly. And all of this for extremely minor global reductions of emissions,” Justice stated.
“I stand with our State’s hundred of thousands energy, oil/gas, coal, pipeline, and utility workers and their families and challenge anyone anywhere who threatens to remove their livelihoods.”
Justice plans to gather at 1 p.m. Monday at the Capitol with leaders from the West Virginia Coal Association, AEP, Dominion Power, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association, and the West Virginia Business and Industry Council.
Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon proposal is described as spending most of the money over a three-year period, going toward lobbying groups in state and local governments and public utility commissions. Some funding will also support electing local officials with green energy platforms.
“We’re in a race against time with climate change, and yet there is virtually no hope of bold federal action on this issue for at least another two years,” Bloomberg said last week. “Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we.”
Justice called West Virginia an “all-in” energy state, citing coal, natural gas and a growing renewable portfolio.
“Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon initiative is short-sighted, nonsensical and, if successful, will have a calamitous impact on West Virginia and American workers,” Justice stated.