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A Partial Victory on Coal Ash

For the past four years we have sought to find a workable solution for the regulation of coal ash, the unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, that will maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs, encourage recycling, protect the environment, and provide certainty. Today the EPA made a decision to not regulate coal ash as a hazardous material, meaning it can continue to be recycled and used in everyday products, such as concrete, bricks, and wall board. This announcement shows that our work has made a difference, but there is still more to be done.

Removing uncertainty on coal ash will allow more coal byproducts to be recycled and protect the 316,000 jobs related to coal ash. We’re proud to have played a role in helping avoid the disastrous outcome a hazardous designation would have created. However, the EPA falls short of offering a functional regulatory system, fails to address key issues, and still leaves uncertainty for both industry and environmental groups. A legislative answer is still necessary to close many of the open-ended questions and concerns the EPA left us under this regulation.

The plan we laid out in H.R. 2218 calls for federal standards for coal ash disposal and requires the states to develop disposal programs that meet those standards. This approach was developed in consultation with states, utilities, recyclers, and the EPA, and remains the best way to ensure coal ash can continue to be disposed and recycled in a safe and economical manner.

This solution has received strong bipartisan support and passed the House on multiple occasions since 2011, but has consistently been blocked in the Senate. Early next year we plan to introduce a similar bill to address this problem once and for all. With new leadership in the Senate, we expect our common sense plan can finally pass the Senate and be signed into law.     

 

Nominating Future Leaders

Earlier this week, my office nominated 15 West Virginia students to United States service academies including the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S Military Academy, and the Merchant Marine Academy. 

Congressional nomination is the first step in a process toward appointment to a military academy. Nominated students must also meet the stringent admission requirements of the academies to earn an appointment.

These students are the future leaders of America.  To earn this nomination they have excelled both inside and outside the classroom and shown strong leadership potential. Their hard work and exemplary character make me proud to be a West Virginian.

These young men and women have a strong desire to serve their country. I wish them the best for the future and look forward to seeing what they accomplish.

 

Marshall University President Stephen Kopp, Rest in Peace

Marshall University and West Virginia lost a true leader this week after the sudden death of Marshall University president Stephen Kopp. Marshall Board of Governors chairman Michael Sellards called Kopp “one of the most dedicated and long-serving president in the 177-year history of Marshall University.” His dedicated to higher education saw Marshall University grow over his 9 year tenure.

This is a truly tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with President Kopp’s wife, their children, grandchildren, and the entire Marshall community, during this time of loss and healing.

 

Working for the Hearing Impaired

As someone with a hearing impairment, in Congress I have worked to advocate for people who face similar challenges. This week the Charleston Daily Mail highlighted my efforts and personal experience I have on the challenges the face people with hearing impairments.

Some of my accomplishments include fighting against a proposed Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS)rule that would have eliminated longstanding Medicare coverage on several types of hearing devices. This issue was personal to me, as a hearing impaired American with a cochlear implant and a grandfather of a child with a hearing devise.

In Congress I also serve as co-chairman of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. I hope with my personal experience I can work to open doors of opportunity for hearing challenged people.

 

Continuing Our District Work

Earlier this week I continued my travels through the First Congressional District and holding several meetings in Harrison and Hancock Counties. In Hancock County I met with the Salvation Army and other organizations that help low income families and continued in Harrison County with a roundtable discussion with North Central West Virginia Airport officials. At the meeting we were able to discuss their concerns about the workforce, business, and how my office can help fight for their issues in Congress.

Over the past four years I have traveled through all 20 counties and held nearly 250 meetings in the First Congressional District meeting with individuals, businesses, and other groups. These meetings ensure that my office understands the issues facing industries in West Virginia, and allows me to better represent the First District. Next Congress, we will continue holding these discussions. Keep an eye out, I may be coming to a town near you.

 

Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us my offices will remain open on December 22-23, December 29-31, and January 2. Please feel free to reach out to my offices during these times. Regarding issues before Congress please contact my Washington, D.C. office by phone at(202)225-4172; for constituent services, my Morgantown office may be reached at(304)284-8506.  I also encourage you to visit my website at www.mckinley.house.gov, where you can send me an email and sign up for my email newsletter.

From myself, Mary, the whole McKinley family and staff - Happy Holidays. We look forward to continuing serving you in the 114th Congress.

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Washington, DC
412 Cannon HOB | Washington, DC 20515
Phone:(202)225-4172 | Fax:(202)225-7564
Morgantown
709 Beechurst Ave.
Suite 29
Morgantown, WV 26505
Phone: 304.284.8506
Wheeling
Horne Building
1100 Main Street, Suite 101
Wheeling, WV 26003
Phone:(304)232-3801
Fax: 304-232-3813
Parkersburg
Federal Building
425 Juliana Street
Suite 1004
Parkersburg, WV 26101
Phone:(304)422-5972