Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 22, 2010

Coal fires passions

Crowd presses Boucher on cap and trade vote

RICHLANDS, Va. — A large crowd — including some who were upset with U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., for his support of the federal cap and trade legislation — demanded answers Tuesday from the veteran lawmaker during a town hall meeting on coal and energy.

“To place an entire economic system at risk for an unproven theory seems a little bit risky to me,” said David Moore of North Tazewell, who questioned the concept of global warming and climate change during the town hall forum held on the campus of Southwest Virginia Community College.

“I’m definitely against cap and trade,” Bobby May of Hurley, who brought an anti cap and trade sign to Monday’s meeting, said. “I think you made a big mistake not voting against it. You sir are the only representative from a coal community to vote for cap and trade. Please explain to me sir what made you so smart, and made all of those other representatives dumb.”

May said U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, D-W.Va., voted against the same measure in neighboring West Virginia.

Seth White, chairman of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, said voters can take a stand against the Environmental Protection Agency if Boucher and other Democrats are unwilling.

“I want to state today — there is something we do about the EPA,” White, one of about 150 people who attended the town hall meeting, said. “If the folks we have in the House and Senate won’t do anything we can elect new representatives who can.”

White also criticized Boucher for his support of President Barack Obama.

“I will say today when you support a president who vehemently hates coal, and hates Southwest Virginia, you didn’t do what is right for your district,” White added.

Boucher, who attempted to respond to each question, defended Obama.

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