Forrest Gump’s phrase “Stupid is as stupid does” comes to mind when you read a piece in Inside Climate News that coal-addicted West Virginia, which generates about 90% of its power from the black stuff, has seen the electricity rates of its largest utility rise 180% in the past 15 years, five times the average increase in the U.S.
True, the state used to have some of the lowest electricity costs in the nation, largely due to the abundant coal it mined. But, with aging coal plants becoming less reliable — and an almost non-existent move to renewable energy — the costs of keeping the plants going has largely been passed on to the consumer. “It’s all about overwhelming economic forces,” James Van Nostrand, professor at the West Virginia University College of Law and director of its Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, told the website. “The rest of the country embraced natural gas, they embraced wind and solar, and we doubled down on coal. And the West Virginia ratepayers are paying for that.”
And guess who is the state’s most prominent cheerleader for coal? Yes, none other than U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democrat whose Dark Age demands almost sank President Joe Biden’s climate-focused Inflation Reduction Act.
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