Ashton Marra Published

McKinley Talks Funding for Coal, 2016 Presidential Race


When Congress approved a $1.1 trillion spending package Friday, they approved some $270 million in funding for coal related industries: $160 million will go toward carbon capture research, $90 million for cleaning up abandoned coal mines in Appalachia, and $19 million will help retrain miners who lost their jobs because of the downturn in the industry.

Congressman David McKinley, from West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, however, said those dollars are not enough relief for the struggling industry.

McKinley voted against the bill citing three coal related policies he thought should have been included. The first, a bill that would roll back portions of the Obama administration’s regulations on coal ash disposal.

The second, funding for healthcare and pensions for coal miners, and the third, a measure to stop the regulation of underground streams, all measures McKinley said the House approved, but could not get the Senate to agree to.

“There were some points that were very good in [the bill] and as we tried to get through the 2,000 pages, we saw there was some of the language we had asked for was included,” he said Tuesday, “but sometimes you just have to say enough is enough.”

McKinley maintained his responsibility in Washington is to protect the industries struggling in West Virginia from “overzealous” regulators. A change in the presidency, he said, would benefit the state, but while he said he has followed the John Kasich campaign, he is not endorsing any candidate so far.

“My profile for I thought a great presidential candidate would be someone with gubernatorial experience,” he said. “Perhaps someone who has operated with 200,000 or 300,000 state employees, has passed legislation, but you look at the names of the people [running] and they haven’t caught on.”

McKinley added he’ll be closely watching the 2016 Presidential Campaign.