"Since West Virginia is ground zero in the Administration's callous plans to expand poverty, our state must do everything possible to prevent violations of the Constitution and the rule of law. Our children deserve that and more."
The state Republican Party also called the president's plan "an attack on coal" in a press release issued before the speech.
"There is no sense in any extra-legal order by any President that will raise the price of electricity for every American," said party chairman Conrad Lucas in the release.
"No one is served by not using the gifts and resources that God has blessed upon West Virginia."
The president dismissed the accomplishments of generations of coal miners and hurt coal mining job prospects with his plan, said Bill Raney, executive director of the West Virginia Coal association.
By announcing imminent restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants that exceed the capabilities of current technology, this administration will impose bureaucratic mandates with no regard for the people and communities of West Virginia that depend on coal and the inexpensive energy it creates for their very existence and survival," Raney said in the announcement.
UMWA President Cecil Roberts joined in the criticism of the plan. Like Raney, he said the president's plan will hurt coal jobs, and he hopes the administration will work with the union in crafting policies related to the plan moving forward.
The state chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization, thanked the president for his plan. Sierra Club members weren't happy the president didn't speak out against natural gas, but Conservation Chairman James Kotcon said the plan is a step in the right direction.
"For too long, our state has been overly dependent on fossil fuels, and our citizens have suffered from their pollution and degradation," Kotcon said in a news release.
"It is important for our state leaders to acknowledge the climate realities we face and to begin to prepare for the transition that President Obama is proposing."
Obama never said he planned to shut down coal-fired power plants during his speech, although he pledged to stop sending U.S. funds to such plants in other countries except in special circumstances.
Opponents have repeatedly said the emission standards proposed by the Obama administration and the EPA are not achievable with current technology and would lead to the closure of many coal-fired power plants in West Virginia and elsewhere.
Obama championed natural gas, an industry that has taken off in northern parts of West Virginia, and dismissed anticipated cries that his plan would destroy the economy.
"It suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity," Obama said.
In his plan, the president called on the EPA to work with states to establish emissions standards for new and existing power plants, while reducing "carbon pollution" by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030.
That's more than half of the emissions from U.S. energy providers, according to the Obama administration.
Public agencies are expected to modernize programs by "removing barriers or counterproductive policies" in order to support local "climate-resilient investment," according to the president's plan.
Obama said his plan does not mean the country "will suddenly stop producing fossil fuels," a move he said would negatively impact the economy. His plan promises up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority for projects using fossil fuels to invest in more efficient technologies.
"We'll need to give special care to the communities that are unsettled by these transitions," Obama said, not specifically mentioning any regions.
There was little use of the word "coal" during the speech, but Obama frequently mentioned "fossil fuels" and "dirty energy." Coal and coal-fired power plants do come up repeatedly in the president's 21-page outline of his plan.
The president repeatedly said implementing the plan would take time.Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.bouc...@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.
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