WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — On Tuesday night, the Senate appointed President Biden’s nomination of Janet McCabe as Deputy Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency. In West Virginia, the new position has received mixed reviews.
Despite a confirming vote of 52 to 42, both West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito have voiced their dismay over Janet McCabe’s new role in the EPA.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito says that McCabe’s role in the Clean Power Plan caused economic turmoil in her state.
“She is the architect of the clean power plan, that basically wracked my economy in West Virginia,” Sen. Capito explained to other senators during her floor speech on Tuesday. “During her time at the EPA before, she didn’t listen. She wouldn’t come to West Virginia, and she basically did very little showed very little interest in what happens to the people most deeply affected by the policies that she put forward.”
Sen. Capito’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joe Manchin, echoed her sentiments. He expressed concern for the people affected by the downturn of the coal industry and hopes the Biden Administration will prioritize revitalizing the coal communities.
“During her time as Acting Assistant Administrator of the EPA, she was one of the chief architects of the Clean Power Plan that would have required coal plants to use unproven technology,” Sen. Manchin stated. “The Clean Power Plan would have been devastating for places like West Virginia, and I am concerned by her continued defense of this harmful rule.”
Sen. Manchin also hopes Ms. McCabe will recognize the importance of supporting those who have made our nation what it is today.
The head of the local environmental coalition in the Eastern Panhandle supports McCabe and believes that clean energy sources are the future for the state. The Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition works to promote green, clean energy sources and protect the environment through environmental community education and scientific policy research, among others.
President of Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition, Morgan Sell, explained many West Virginians that she has spoken are worried about job opportunities and financial security.
“Our infrastructure is failing, coal-powered plants are leaving in droves, and our people have to leave the state as well just to get decent pay and decent wages and jobs,” Sell said. “So, what West Virginians need is new jobs in West Virginia, and that’s not coming from coal-powered plants, it’s not coming from coal mines.”
Sell is calling on her senators to invest in their constituents. She says that promoting and investing in clean energy sources will help more than just the economy. She explained that big corporations are playing a large factor in the poor water quality throughout the state by polluting waterways.
"So when Senator Capito and Senator Manchin expressed their concern for the people of West Virginia, I think they need to start talking to them one-on-one and seeing what the people of West Virginia actually want and stop using them as pawns just to keep powering these coal plants."
McCabe’s new role under President Biden is not her first within the EPA. She served as the Principal Deputy of the Office of Air and Radiation and later the Acting Assistant Administrator in the same office under former President Obama.