Tomblin Speech Light on Talk of Energy Issues

Charleston Gazette - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday night promised to keep fighting tougher federal regulation of the coal industry, touted continued growth of the state's natural gas business, and said he would spare West Virginia's mine safety agency the budget cuts hitting other sectors of state government. Read

But in a speech heavy on details of Tomblin's proposed overhaul of the state school system, the governor focused less on energy issues -- and said hardly anything about pressing issues in communities were coal is mined and gas is produced.

Tomblin has refused requests that he form a special commission to plan a coalfield transition, and has declined to support proposals from various groups and Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, for some sort of a "future fund" that would use coal and gas taxes for education, infrastructure and economic development programs.

"West Virginia needs to invest in transitioning our economy by ensuring that we use our rich natural resources to create sustainable wealth that is reinvested in our people," said Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy.

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