West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said that God will “give us time” to fix climate change—“if” it exists, he emphasized—if the U.S. acts now to increase fossil fuel production to respond to the burgeoning energy crisis thanks to the invasion of Ukraine. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence, but here we are!
These remarks were made during a Public briefingJustice was granted Monday in the case that was allegedlyA covid-19 update for West Virginia After spending approximately 10Minutes talking about the pandemic, Justice took a sharp pivot and started discussing the war in Ukraine and its implications for energy in the U.S.—or, rather, what Justice thinks is happening here.
“Our coal miners, our gas workers, our oil workers, they get up every morning, they get their dinner buckets, and they go get dirty, don’t they,” he said. “Oftentimes they’re doing stuff that is extremely risky.” After describing the recent death of a West Virginia miner, Justice lauded how coal miners “saved us in World War II and everything by giving us the coal that was mandatory to make steel, and absolutely preserved this country.” He then goes on to blame the Biden administration for “trying to extinguish them…Now all of a sudden we’re on the brink of World War III, maybe, and now who do they call? …They call screaming, ‘drill, baby, drill!’”
I’ll just let you read a (Condensed) transcript of where this goes next, because it’s really a journey:
They could call on West Virginia today in many ways. West Virginia may be the catalyst to end a lot the carnage and reinforce in many different ways that the country should be independent. I am a firm believer in all the alternative energies. But I believe it is absolutely frivolous to think that today we can do in this country or this world without fossil fuels, and if we believe that we’re going to have just what the hand has dealt to us right now. We’re going to have chaos, we’re going to have real problems. … I believe, and my belief as strong is it may be, or can be, I believe with all in me, that we’ll have time and [God]We will have time to move forward. If such a thing is possible, and I insist that I say if, climate change is a real possibility, I believe God will give us the time and the smart people will fix this. Today, energy is being used to make weapons. This country hands down,must be completely energy independent. It is a terrible, shameful thing to see the Biden administration trying to cripple us completely. We have become weak, have we not?”
God deserves serious credit for their ability. un-fuck-up our shit—and The alarming phrase was first coined “on the brink of World War III, maybe”—Justice is metaphorically lifting heavy for the oil-and-gas industry. To avoid an energy crisis, we need to promote the idea that fossil fuels in the U.S. should be unregulated and not regulated.Industry has been clamoring for this information since the beginning. But, reality is that the majority Experts in energy would point this outIt is more complicated because the U.S., as a global importer of fossilfuels, is basically bound to the volatility on the global market. EEven though the Biden administration put a lot of effort into it, Its climate goals are described in wordsIt has also given rise to a A lot of oil and gas drillers have free rein—not to mention that coal took a steep decline even under President TrumpHe gave away as many freebies as he could to the dying industry.
There’s a particular irony to Justice, of all people, painting miners as Victimsthey were subject to mistreatment from outsiders and talked about the dangers of their work. Justice’s family owns dozens of coal mines across five Appalachian states, aThese mines have serious problems. 2014 was a year of significant changes.It was many years before Justice was elected governor, NPR reported that the mines owed $2 million in outstanding safety-related finesAnd had Miner injuries rates more than twice as high as the national average. In 2019, NPR reportedThis is a tThe fines for hoses have risen to $4.3 Million Accounting for almost 10%All outstanding coal miner debts in the entire country.
“[Gov. Justice] and his family has simply chosen to disregard, flagrantly violate, continually violate and increasingly violate the rules of mine safety and the penalties of mine safety,” a former federal mine safety official told NPR. (Justice’s family Accepted to pay all outstanding fines2020.
Justice’s mines also have plenty of environmental violations: IThe state of Kentucky is the state in November Justice and his son are finedNearly $3 million was spent on not cleaning up coal mines in the eastern half of the state. With friends like these, God and the “smart people” better get to work soon.