John Raese Statement at Albright Power Station

Back in February First Energy Corporation and their subsidiary Mon Power announced that three power plants in West Virginia would close by this September.  The three named were Willow Island Power Plant in Pleasants County, Rivesville Power Station in Marion County and the plant behind me, the Albright Power Station here in Preston County.

These three stations produce about 600-megawatts of power or about 3% of the company’s capacity.  In recent years all three have been used primarily as “peaking facilities” that are toggled on line as demand increases.  Just a month earlier First Energy had announced the closing of six other coal fired power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In every case the provider cited ever-increasing regulations and pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency as the reason that these plants were forced to close.

While we all demand clean water and clean air – and that is never a point of debate – the current EPA under President Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson have created a complex set of standards designed to make coal generated power obsolete.  President Obama and his followers at the EPA and Department of Energy think that putting incredible pressure on the coal industry will somehow force more rapid development and deployment of alternative energy sources.

As then Senator Obama famously said, “So if someone wants to build a coal-powered plant they can.  It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted”.  Obama was talking about his cap and trade proposal – an idea that’s already been proposed, passed and signed by Joe Manchin three years ago in West Virginia.  House bill 103 calls for up to 25% of the power generated in West Virginia come from alternative sources by 2025.  Alternative energy ranges from wind to burning used tires.

Really Joe, used tires?

The Obama/Manchin/Jackson EPA is providing a moving target for energy producers.  Recently First Energy – this same power provider – spent five years and 1.8-billion dollars upgrading and retrofitting the W. H. Stammis Power Station just across the Ohio River from New Cumberland, West Virginia.  After all of that work and expense the company is still not sure whether they can comply with this new set of rules recently issued by Barack Obama, Lisa Jackson and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Looking forward coal will continue to be a major source of electrical energy well into the future, yet this administration – and their out-of-touch Department of Energy – has once again this year lowered the amount of research dollars allocated to clean coal technology.  They feel that if they can increase the pain they will get a better result, force a different reality, but that pain is not so much with these large multi-state companies as it is with the workers and their families who are losing jobs.  With the coal producers and miners around these plants who are losing coal sales forcing layoffs or closings and with the truckers who move this natural resource from the mine to the power station every day.

A consulting group tasked with charting the long term economic impact of the new EPA rules nationwide report the regulations will cost electric utilities 184-billion dollars, cost our fragile economy 1.4-million American jobs and will bring us, the consumer, rate increases estimated between 11 and 23 percent to our monthly power bill.  In certain coal dominant states, like West Virginia, that number could be even higher.

Just here in Preston County 61-workers will be displaced, the tax base used to fund education in the county will be reduced by 400-thousand dollars and the Preston County Commission will lose 180-thousand dollars from their budget each year

The decisions embraced by the democrats in charge of our government certainly don’t embrace trickle down economics but obviously do believe in trickle up misery.

I am here in Albright today to stand side by side with the coal producers, the coal miners and the coal users in this great state.  The time for hollow words is long past.  President Obama and Lisa Jackson will not listen and do not care.  Senator Manchin is unable to change the course of these harmful regulations because he has, with his statements well before the election season, put his seal of approval on the Obama doctrine.

We need someone new in the White House, someone new at the EPA, someone new at the Department of Energy and a new senator from West Virginia.

That is change we can believe in and that is the only change that makes sense to save West Virginia’s coal industry.

Marriage: One Man, One Woman

The President recently told us his view on same sex marriage had evolved and now he supports it. This abrupt announcement was hastened by comments made by Vice-­President Joe Biden while appearing on a Sunday news show. The Obama campaign said the President was planning on making this announcement before the Charlotte convention this summer but whether you buy that explanation or not it doesn’t really matter now.

President Barack Obama is on the record supporting same sex marriage – a complete 180‐degree departure from where he stood on the matter while running for a first term in 2008.

My position is firm and has evolved. I believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

When you discuss a matter of faith in these turbulent times it is probably best to stay somewhat socially relevant. So with that touch point in mind here is what supports my heart-­felt position.

  • The LGBT community argues that denying them marriage is denying them the ability to have a loving commitment with another person.

That is simply not true. People have loving, committed relationships with other people all the time – we just don’t always call those relationships marriage.

  • Advocates argue they are being denied civil rights.

Restrictions have always existed regarding the state of marriage. It is, first of all, a state between a man and a woman. No one has ever been permitted to marry someone simply because they loved them. The would-­be spouse must be an adult – must be free from any other marriage – and cannot be closely related to the other person just to name a few. Would advocates who preach same sex marriage also be willing to allow the other restrictions be relaxed or eliminated? It is undeniably part of the same argument.

  • Those in favor of same sex marriage believe they are being denied government benefits.

Let’s be clear about what this issue is not about. It is not about homosexuals being treated as less than equal citizens. All the rights and dignity of American citizenship should, and must, be afforded all individuals. If it’s about government benefits then that is a completely different set of circumstances and a warrants a different discussion all together.

While marriage can be richly rewarding for adults it’s really not about that. It’s a building block of society and has always been family based. Through thousands of years of human history, and across each landmass of this planet, marriage has been the accepted social norm – the way that we’ve moved forward from generation to generation. It is about the well being of the children transcending religion, politics, culture and law. Human nature requires marriage.

The libertarian in me always thirsts for less governmental interference and less governmental influence in general, but a civilization without rock solid principles is really no civilization at all.

Same sex marriage is a question that’s been forced into this political season to take focus away from our staggering economy – or from the very real attempt to gut our military – or our collective ability to make the tough decisions necessary to provide hope and opportunities for that next generation. While American’s believe in freedom and personal choice, they balk at the idea that politicians anywhere can redefine marriage. After an overwhelming twenty­‐point margin of victory in North Carolina recently, a total of 30‐states have now banned same sex marriage in their respective constitutions.

Marriage is a union between one man and one woman – and that basic principle, Mr. President, has evolved since the very beginning of time.

Gazette Should Endorse Manchin

by John Raese

I’d like to respectfully ask the Gazette editorial board to reconsider their endorsement, or lack thereof, of Joe Manchin.

I can understand your frustration with the hide and seek tactics that Senator Manchin employs when he thinks it is politically expedient. Yes, he’ll talk like a conservative and act like he’s fiscally responsible to appeal to more moderate voters – but under that outward appearance of a lovable rube is the heart of a tax and spend liberal.

Joe Manchin was a champion for the budget busting Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act better know as Obamacare. He praised President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid during the Obamacare debates in 2009. When running for Senator two years ago he said he wouldn’t have voted for the bill if he knew what was included in the legislation but then, once he had taken the oath in Washington, and it was time to go on the record he voted for Obamacare. It was just a nuance in Joe’s thinking – a little misdirection now and a little payoff to the party leaders later.

I know that Manchin has long asserted he is pro life, but when it was time to fund Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in the country – he was in lock step with the more left wing colleagues in his party. He wants to say that no federal money goes toward abortion, but he funds an organization with his vote that performs over 300,000 abortions every year.

Stimulus deficit spending? Manchin is your man. The Obama agenda? Joe is on board more than 85% of the time.

Manchin is also finding new friends in Washington that obviously like his take on things. Campaign contributors include Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry. That trio obviously doesn’t see the similarities the Gazette points out between Joe Manchin and Joe Lieberman. Joe Manchin is running as a “West Virginia Democrat” touting his roots and interests are vested in what is best for West Virginia. That is merely window dressing since nearly 90% of his campaign money is coming from outside of the state while, as you can plainly see, his supporters and friends are on the far left fringe of his party.

OK, I get it. Manchin threw President Obama under the bus when he said he wasn’t certain whom he would support for President. When he dodged the question in a national interview and said he would make up his mind on Election Day in November between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. On the surface that looks like an automatic disqualification for the Gazette editorial board, but if you overlook the other hedges and side steps that Manchin makes to hide his core beliefs you can surely overlook a purely political utterance. Do you really believe that Joe Manchin will pull the lever for Mitt Romney?

You do, in fact, know that I will.

I’d also vote to repeal Obamacare and to block funding for Planned Parenthood. Wasteful stimulus packages and bailouts would be a non-starter and Lisa Jackson would be looking for a new job in the Gazette want ads.

I don’t usually get involved in personal spats but I do feel compelled to come to Joe’s aid on this one. It’s time to reconsider.

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