Commentary from Talkline’s Hoppy Kercheval
The general belief based on national studies has been that climate legislation being considered in Washington would be bad for West Virginia’s economy. But now there is a study that looks specifically at the potential impact on West Virginia and confirms the worst fears.
Cap-and-trade would have a devastating effect on our state.
The study was conducted by Dr. Randall A. Childs of WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. It was paid for by several West Virginia government agencies, including the Governor’s Office and the Higher Education Policy Commission.
The report looks at the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA or as it’s commonly called the “cap-and-trade” bill) which passed the House of Representatives by just seven votes last June. A similar bill is under consideration in the Senate.
Childs found that cap-and-trade will reduce the demand for coal while driving up the cost of electricity in West Virginia. Less coal mining means fewer tax dollars for government operations and an overall decline in the state’s economy.
Here are some of the specific findings:
–“West Virginia’s gross domestic product would be $1.8 billion less in 2030.”
–“West Virginia would have 22,700 fewer jobs in 2030.”
–“West Virginia’s population would be 24,600 lower by 2030.”
–“Every industry sector has fewer jobs with ACESA.”
In addition, the study finds, incomes suffer and West Virginians become more dependent on social programs.
The report does suggest a potential positive. “Energy efficiency provisions within the ACESA may increase spending on goods and services that provide greater energy efficiency and decrease the demand for electricity in the state. In addition, there may be an increase in energy-related investment spending.”
But that’s cold comfort when compared with the sizable down side.
The study demonstrates that cap-and-trade would deal an economic body blow to West Virginia that would severely damage the economy, lower the overall standard of living and sink even more residents into the welfare trap.
In his state of the union speech Wednesday night President Obama recommitted himself to climate legislation. “Energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future,” the President said to applause.
That all sounds fine, but as this WVU study shows the impact of a climate bill will mean that the future of West Virginia and our people will be significantly and perhaps permanently damaged.