Washington, D.C. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant met with Administrator Gina McCarthy and other Environmental Protection Agency Officials in Washington today and urged better communication between that agency, the coal industry, and citizens of West Virginia.
“Everywhere I go in this state people express concerns about the economy and jobs,” Secretary Tennant said. “And many of those people are concerned specifically about the future of coal, and they don’t know what the EPA has planned. I felt it was necessary to attend this meeting at the White House to convey these questions and make it clear just how uncertain West Virginians are about the future of the coal industry.
“What I want to see is better communication between everyone involved. Today’s meeting is a great first step toward resolving a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of mistrust. Given the lack of communication and outreach from the EPA, it is hardly surprising that people in West Virginia have assumed the worst about the EPA.
“I invited Administrator McCarthy to West Virginia so she can see firsthand the impact her agency’s policies are having on our state. She seemed very receptive to the idea and I hope that one day soon she will be able to make a visit.
“I believe West Virginia has a very bright future and coal will play a vital role in that. Unfortunately, the EPA under President Obama has been too secretive. The agency's previous leadership made little attempt to communicate with our citizens - especially those being adversely affected by its decisions. But now we have an opportunity to change that. I made it clear to Administrator McCarthy I expect her and her agency to listen to citizens on both sides of the issue."