DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said that it was "very progressive" for the acting governor to "talk as openly and bluntly about the greenhouse gases and the carbon issues that the country faces."
But Don Garvin, lead lobbyist for the West Virginia Environmental Council, said that most experts believe the federal climate change bill that state political leaders generally condemned would have helped the coal industry and utilities develop and deploy carbon capture equipment.
"[Tomblin] ought to be on board with federal legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to provide funding for research to further develop the process," Garvin said.
On gas drilling, Tomblin said that new drilling technology and the Marcellus shale formation combine to create an opportunity not only for direct jobs, but for spin-off development of processing plants like the one that Dominion Energy announced Wednesday it will build near the PPG Industries chemical plant in Marshall County.
"We are just now beginning to know what this potential is, and I think the governor's people now understand what this potential is," said Corky DeMarco, lobbyist for the state Oil and Natural Gas Association.
Huffman said he was not disappointed that the governor did not promote DEP's proposal for new regulations and a doubling of his agency's oil and gas office staff. Tomblin supports the measure, Huffman said, but simply wanted it to be introduced as a DEP bill rather than part of the governor's legislative agenda.
But Rank said she was amazed that the acting governor didn't urge lawmakers to pass some sort of package for new drilling regulations.
"He never even mentioned it," Rank said. "That's a slight of what I would consider good efforts by DEP to address the problems that we all know exist."Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.