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Biden executive orders raise concerns for oil and gas production

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 5:11 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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:WASHINGTON, D.C. - (WTAP) - President Joe Biden says “we can’t wait any longer” to address the climate crisis, and that’s driving his ambitious effort to stave off the worst effects of global warming. He’s issued executive orders to cut oil, gas and coal emissions and double energy production from offshore wind turbines.

They target federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. The orders also aim to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters in the next 10 years.

the White House says the orders the president signed in the seven days since he took office can result in the creation of new jobs.

“There’s a lot of money to be made in the creation of these new jobs in these sectors,” John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said at a news briefing Wednesday.

” So the program review is going to look at how we manage public lands consistent with climate but also consistent with the marriage between climate and really growing jobs of the future,” added Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor.

But nearly every member of the region’s congressional delegation who weighed in on the subject in prepared statements, along with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, says otherwise.

A representative of locally-based Shale Crescent says a better way to reduce America’s carbon footprint is to transfer jobs from China, to where the energy resources are.

“You take that factory in Beijing and you put it in Parkersburg,” claims Greg Kozera, Marketing Director. “That’s how you lower the carbon footprint. Think about that, because it’s real. They can do that, because the energy and feedstock are here, they can make more money than they can in China.”

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a coal industry billionaire, says alternative fuels Biden supports are for the future, but not for the present.

“We can’t do without coal today, and we can’t do without gas, there’s just no way,” Justice said at his Wednesday news briefing. “Unless we are just driving the car right over the cliff.”

There’s political risk for Biden and Democrats as oil- and coal-producing states face job losses from moves to sharply increase U.S. reliance on clean energy.

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - With president Joe Biden focused on a variety of changes to the nation’s energy and environmental policies, including a return to the Paris Climate Accord, there are questions about how those changes could affect the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Ohio and West Virginia are among the largest producers when it comes to oil, gas and fossil fuels.

According to the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, the Buckeye state is the sixth-largest natural gas producer and 12th-largest oil producer.

West Virginia ranks second in weekly coal production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With those statistics in mind, experts think the Mid-Ohio Valley will pivot to alternative energy sources.

“Look at this not so much as a moving away from the fossil fuel industries, but creating new jobs and trying to do, hopefully the economic diversification of the Mid-Ohio Valley. And by extension, all of Appalachia has needed for a very long time,” says Marietta College environmental science director, Dr. Eric Fitch.

A West Virginia University report says the state has the ability to dramatically increase renewable energy production over the next 15 years―and could generate more than 70 percent of its electricity from wind and solar by 2035.

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