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Not So Fast

Pushing Back on Biden Energy Plan

It must have been quite a victory for President Joe Biden to receive the backing of the United Mine Workers in his plan to move away from coal and other fossil fuels in exchange for a “true energy transition.” Biden claims that transition will include thousands of jobs in renewable energy and spending on technology to make coal cleaner.

In fact, there is a lot that sounds promising in Biden’s adjusted approach to helping those who would lose their livelihoods if the administration’s goals are achieved.

Rather than simply damage those workers, families and communities and then abandon them, a recent report says “President Biden is committed to providing federal leadership in partnership with coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, remediate environmental degradation, and support energy workers.”

That all sounds good. So what’s the catch?

For starters, Biden knows his plan faces significant challenges, not the least of which will come from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who plans to fight the effort.

“We should not be rushing to this plan for 2030,” Morrisey said.

And Biden knows West Virginia’s representatives in Washington, D.C., will not bow down without a fight. All these folks understand the very real need to do what is right for our planet and the people living on it; and that diversifying the Mountain State’s economy will be part of that effort.

But they also understand 2030 is not far enough away to make the transition in a way that doesn’t end up doing more harm than good for residents.

Will Biden take his ball and go home if those folks very rightly push for a more reasonable time frame to accomplish the plan’s goals? He’ll have to be more reasonable than that, if we are to make any progress at all — preserving both the health of our environment and our state’s economy.

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