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West Virginians also Fighting for EPA Carbon Limits

West Virginians will be some of those protesting in favor of the Clean Power Plan outside a courthouse in Washington, D.C., when states including West Virginia sue to stop the plan. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)
West Virginians will be some of those protesting in favor of the Clean Power Plan outside a courthouse in Washington, D.C., when states including West Virginia sue to stop the plan. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)
September 26, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- West Virginia is one of the states suing the federal government to stop Environmental Protection Agency carbon limits. Arguments will begin this week in Washington, D.C., but some West Virginia residents plan to protest in favor of the Clean Power Plan in front of the courthouse.

Two vans of state residents will join people from around the country in front of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals when arguments start Tuesday morning. Roane County resident Mary Wildfire said West Virginians are ready to face reality.

"We all deep down know this is real,” Wildfire said. "I think we are preparing a world for our descendants that will leave them hating us as no generation in human history has ever hated its parents."

The EPA's ability to slow climate change by mandating cuts in carbon emissions under the Clean Air Plan has survived two challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court. But Attorney General Patrick Morrissey will argue that the agency overstepped its authority with some of the specifics in the plan.

Many in the coal, oil and gas industries - and some of their political allies - have argued that climate change is a hoax. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has blamed China - in spite of evidence that they Chinese are moving rapidly toward renewable energy.

Wildfire said the climate is already changing, and she can see the effects around her rural home.

"It seems to be getting harder and harder to grow gardens,” she said. "And I've noticed there just aren't the bugs there used to be. There isn't the diversity and there aren't the numbers, and that worries me."

Wildfire said the state should, "demand its share of the clean power jobs," for example, by building solar panels.

"I don't think that West Virginians should continue to be forced to accept dirty jobs, and polluting jobs, and jobs that threaten our lives or our health - as we have for the past century with coal,” she said.

The Clean Power Plan is a key part of the international plan to address climate change reached in Paris last year. The Paris Agreement looks likely to go into effect soon.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV