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Sen. Capito asks Mallory, McCabe about comments made about West Virginia

Senator Shelley Moore Capito
Senator Shelley Moore Capito
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 3:38 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAZ) - U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) questioned Brenda Mallory and Janet McCabe about comments they made about West Virginia.

Capito, who is also the Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, took part in the nomination hearing of Brenda Mallory to be the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Janet McCabe to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On Wednesday, Senator Capito said to McCabe, “You might recall, Ms. McCabe, that you testified before the committee in 2015 when you were at EPA, and I asked you then why—with such a far reaching agenda as the Clean Power Plan—why you were not holding a public hearing in my state of West Virginia which is deeply impacted by this. And you said at the time ‘We wanted to have those meetings in locations where people were comfortable coming.’”

Then Senator Capito told Mallory, “you gave an example from your private federal service in a webinar in 2019. And the quote you have was, ‘The question was whether I should be sent to a meeting in West Virginia because you know how the boys are in West Virginia.’ And then you talked about a perception among higher levels of government leadership that the people in West Virginia were ‘rough and tumble.’ You stated, ‘This was coming from two levels above me and my direct supervisor was like ‘I’m not comfortable with those people.”’ You can image how that hits you being a native West Virginian myself, and also these policies that you all are going to be putting forward and coordinating are going to have deep impacts on the 1.8 million people living in my state.”

Capito asked for their response and if they planned to go out to these areas that were deeply impacted.

McCabe said if she has the opportunity to visit Capito and her constituents in West Virginia, that she would.

Mallory also said she would visit West Virginia.

Capito also discussed the definition of environmental justice, saying “but I also think with joblessness comes an expanded environmental hazard. When you have people who have depression or opioid addictions or joblessness or hopelessness, the environment surrounding those folks, those homes, those communities, I think can be just as damaging to our environment in some ways as maybe a factory or a power plant … There’s a great emphasis in this administration on environmental justice and equity. And that’s a lot of the words that are used … I think [the definition] does matter because we’ll be putting a lot of resources into this, meaning federal dollars. I know there have been some promises in the some of the Executive Orders that 40% of whatever the benefits would be from green energy would go back into the communities. But you can hear the skepticism of the states that have been impacted before.”

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