Charles Patton, the president of WV's largest electric utility - Appalachian Power, spoke yesterday at the state Energy Summit. David Gutman in this morning's Gazette-Mail reported what Patton said (emphasis is mine):
Coal consumption is not likely to increase, regardless of whether new federal regulations on power plants go into effect, and, from coal’s perspective, the national debate on coal and climate change has largely been lost, the president of West Virginia’s largest electric utility told a roomful of energy executives Tuesday.
The Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, would cut coal consumption — but even if the regulations are blocked, coal consumption will not increase, Appalachian Power President Charles Patton said at the state Energy Summit at the Stonewall Resort.
The article continues:
What’s more, the debate over the “war on coal,” which sucks up so much of the political air in West Virginia, has largely been settled in other states, Patton said.
He said 72 percent of Americans believe the earth is getting warmer and that man-made causes are partly attributable. Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor stricter emissions limits on greenhouse gases, Patton said, with even larger majorities among young people.
“Americans believe there is a problem, and while we in West Virginia believe that’s ludicrous and we have our view on coal, it’s really important to understand, if you’re not in a coal-producing state, your affinity for coal is not there,” Patton said. “The debate largely, at this point in time, has been lost.”
Patton is certainly not a "radical environmentalist" and he doesn't support the president's Clean Power Plan which is why his speech is important. Patton is realistic, however, and that sets him apart from a majority of our state legislators and our local "newspapers."
Our locals, of course, didn't cover the summit although I thought of them as I read Gutman's concluding quote from Patton:
“If we believe that we can just change administrations and this issue is going to go away,” Patton said, “we’re making a terrible mistake.”