MOUNDSVILLE - Even if the U.S. cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent over the next 16 years, Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, does not believe this will solve the global climate change problem.
"Coal is growing worldwide," Hamilton said last week while addressing the Moundsville Rotary Club. "Countries around the world are looking at coal as we did 40-50 years ago."
"You can't lead if no one is following you," he said in response to the concept of the U.S. providing global leadership in environmental stewardship. "Other countries are not cutting back on coal. They are using more coal - and are building more coal plants all the time."
Photo by Casey Junkins
Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said even if the U.S. reduces carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent, this will not happen in the rest of the world.
Hamilton said he believes the global climate is changing somewhat, but said he is not sure how much humans are contributing to this change. He said certain politicians are just trying to take down coal.
"Don't let anyone say to you that there has not been a war on coal ... a war on West Virginia coal," he said. "We will see electricity bills skyrocket because of this. There is no question about that."
Information provided by Hamilton shows that Marshall County led West Virginia in coal production in 2013 with 15.58 million tons produced. He said the Marshall County Coal Co.'s Marshall County Mine and the Ohio County Coal Co.'s Ohio County Mine (formerly known as the McElroy and Shoemaker mines, respectively) are among those endangered because of the new regulations.
"The recent actions of our president and of this EPA are going to wreck havoc here," he said.
Hamilton also said he does not oppose natural gas exploration and production, noting, "We have this Marcellus and Utica shale gas - and that's real."