OVEC Calls for Community Dialogue in Response to Executive Actions

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Press Release

View this Press Release Online  —  Jan 29, 2021


January 29, 2021

Sarah Carballo, 304-266-6531, sarah@ohvec.org 


The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Calls for Community Dialogue
A Shared Vision for Successful Transition Away From Fossil Fuels

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — This week, President Biden issued several executive orders to curb oil, gas, and coal emissions and increase energy production from offshore wind turbines. The orders also target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.

According to an article published by WCHS-TV on January 28, Republican leadership from West Virginia was swift to condemn these actions. Industry executives expressed similar contempt for the transition to a sustainable energy sector less reliant on fossil fuel production.

However, the economic outlook from some of the world’s leading financial analysts tell a different story. According to recent data, the empirical fact is that America’s coal consumption has entered a free fall. In 2019, coal production fell to its lowest since 1978. Estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show the United States is on pace for a continued decline in 2021.

Similarly, on January 26, rating agency S&P warned that 13 oil and gas companies, including some of the world’s largest, risk being downgraded in coming weeks due to increased competition from renewable energy.

It is clear the market is embracing alternative energy solutions, and it’s not difficult to see why: Scientists warn that unless we radically reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, global warming could rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Without concerted effort towards decarbonization, the most dire of these consequences would have unparalleled and devastating financial impacts not only for West Virginia, but the entire global economy.

Addressing the severity of our looming ecological crisis and proactively arming our communities with the support we need to be resilient requires more than sowing skepticism along partisan divides. Rather, a more productive way forward requires providing direct and immediate investment in sustainable industries that support long-term job creation in the renewable energy sector, such as the Black Rock 115-megawatt wind project announced on January 25.

In response to President Biden’s executive action, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), incoming Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, reiterated his support for comprehensive strategies to advance innovative energy technologies to address climate change while maintaining our energy independence.

Economic diversification through renewable energy development is one viable path forward if we hope to achieve our shared vision for a prosperous region.

“While we applaud President Biden for his swift and decisive action,” says Sarah Carballo, a staff member with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, “we urge leaders across the state to engage in a meaningful dialogue to achieve our common goal: healthy and thriving communities across all of West Virginia.”

View a statement by Sarah Carballo from January 9 about climate action in West Virginia.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization based in Huntington, WV dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the environment and communities. Visit ohvec.org to learn more.


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