The ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee grilled the nominees for two top environmental posts over insulting West Virginia stereotypes.
Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said that Brenda Mallory (nominated to be chair of the Council on Environmental Quality) and Janet McCabe (nominated to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency) both had used dog-whistle language to signal an anti-rural bias in past public comments.
“Ms. Mallory, you gave an example from your private federal service in a webinar in 2019, and the quote you have was, ‘The question was whether I should be sent to a meeting in West Virginia because you know how the boys are in West Virginia,’” Capito began.
“And then you talked about a perception among higher levels of government leadership that the people in West Virginia were ‘rough and tumble,’” she continued. “You stated, ‘This was coming from two levels above me and my direct supervisor was like ‘I’m not comfortable with those people.'”
Capito said the problematic attack on West Virginia culture gave her pause given the coal-rich state’s reliance on fair or favorable treatment by energy and environmental regulators.
“You can image how that hits you being a native West Virginian myself, and also these policies that you all are going to be putting forward and coordinating are going to have deep impacts on the 1.8 million people living in my state,” she said.
Capito also lectured the elitist left-wing bureaucrats on the perils of joblessness—a top concern for many in the impoverished, working-class Mountain State.
The issue is at the forefront for many in America’s heartland after President Joe Biden, in one of his first acts, closed down the Keystone XL pipeline and, with it, thousands of jobs.
Others fear that Biden’s tentative support for radical environmentalist policies like the Green New Deal might spill over into other energy sectors.
He waffled several times during the 2020 presidential campaign over whether he would end fracking for natural gas, an important industry in neighboring Pennsylvania.
However, coal is likely to hit the chopping block even sooner. Biden notoriously told coal miners during the campaign that they should “learn to code”—suggesting that they might easily switch into careers in the tech sector.
Biden’s climate czar and private-jet pitchman, John Kerry, dismissively said the same of oil workers in a January press briefing.
“What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry said.
But Capito expressed her doubt, noting that—as with many of Biden’s policies—the so-called cure would be worse than the disease by leading to rampant unemployment and, in turn, more pollution.
“[W]ith joblessness comes an expanded environmental hazard,” she argued. “When you have people who have depression or opioid addictions or joblessness or hopelessness, the environment surrounding those folks, those homes, those communities, I think can be just as damaging to our environment in some ways as maybe a factory or a power plant.”
The Left, however, has ignored the concerns of the working class in order to press forward with its own radical, globalist agenda, invoking terms like “climate justice.”
While former president Donald Trump succeeded in making America energy independent for the first time in modern history, Biden’s plans would likely outsource America’s energy needs to places like Iran and Russia, while driving up the cost for everyday Americans.
Capito touched on the irony of some of the other left-wing buzzwords, such as “equity” while ignoring lower-income families who most deserved equitable treatment.
“There’s a great emphasis in this administration on environmental justice and equity,” she said. “… I know there have been some promises in the some of the Executive Orders that 40% of whatever the benefits would be from green energy would go back into the [affected rural] communities,” she continued. “But you can hear the skepticism of the states that have been impacted before.”