House of Delegates Majority Leader Daryl Cowles is supporting the Mountaineer Gas proposed pipeline that would cut through Berkeley Springs and Morgan County.
In an interview with Russell Mokhiber on This Week in Morgan County, Cowles said that while he agreed it was “unfair” for the company to be bullying landowners with the threat of eminent domain, Mountaineer Gas was empowered to use eminent domain since the state’s Public Service Commission has determined the pipeline project was necessary and in the public’s interest.
Cowles agreed that the country should be transitioning to renewable energy.
“And I think we are, to some degree,” Cowles said.
“Mountain View Solar has a presence at 522 business park in southern Morgan County, “ said Cowles, who was recently appointed as executive director of the Morgan County Economic Development Authority. “We are transitioning to some degree now. But that doesn’t change the fact that you need a mix of all of those types of energy to have a vibrant, well rounded economy.”
Given that Mountain View Solar is based here in Morgan County, shouldn’t Cowles be taking a leadership role in the legislature to push for renewable energy?
“I don’t want to pick winners and losers,” Cowles said. “I don’t want to pick solar out and say — I’m going to push for this because there is a small business in my community that’s going to benefit. We need a good energy base that supplies good jobs for everybody — whether that’s gas generated energy, or coal generated energy or renewable energy — and preferably a mix of all of those things.”
Cowles said that he was not convinced that fossil fuels is driving climate change, but it’s important to move to a renewable energy economy.
“But you have to be careful about costs,” Cowles said. “I represent working families. You can’t afford to have their electric bills doubled for some political reason to pick a winner and loser. You need to have a good mix and be conscious of the economic effects of your policy positions.”
On the economic development front, Cowles said he was excited about the rail trail project, some new life being breathed into the Cacapon State Park $25 million renovation, Coolfont recently being sold, the Country Inn coming back, and Procter & Gamble partnering with Blue Ridge Community College at the old hospital.