Vice President Kamala Harris spoke of “abandoned land mines” in West Virginia when talking about job creation.
During a local interview Harris with WSAZ 3, the vice president correlated the administration’s push for clean energy with the creation of new jobs.
“All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of reclaiming abandoned land mines,” Harris said. “What we need to do around plugging leaks from oil and gas wells, and transferring those important skills to the work that has yet to be done, and needs to get done.”
While land mines typically refer to underground explosives, Harris was most likely referring to abandoned coal or strip mines.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the White House for clarification but did not receive an immediate response.
.@KamalaHarris says there will be job creation around “reclaiming abandoned land mines” in West Virginia.
“All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of dealing with reclaiming abandoned land mines.” pic.twitter.com/xnXP3ra8bN
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer)
January 31, 2021
West Virginia, a state heavily reliant on the coal industry, would be one that could be affected by the Biden administration’s push to move out of the fossil fuel industries.
President Biden has already taken steps to prioritize the threat of climate change as one of his top issues. On his first day in office, Biden reenlisted the United States in the Paris climate accord.
Last week, the president signed a number of executive orders related to climate concerns, including a ban on some energy drilling and a freeze on new oil and gas leases on public lands. Climate Envoy John Kerry reiterated claims that the administration is seeking to replace any potentially lost jobs with a new, green economy.
West Virginia lawmakers had mixed reactions to Biden’s climate plan and how it would affect workers in their state.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin applauded the investment into his state but said he plans to hold the administration accountable in that the burden of accelerated changes is not “unduly placed on these communities.”
Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito argued that the country’s energy sector produces high-paying jobs, and the Biden administration was going “backwards” on energy.
“In West Virginia, we remember the effects of this playbook originally created during the Obama administration,” Capito told West Virginia MetroNews. “America is a proud energy producer, and paralyzing an entire industry full of high-paying jobs and propping up hostile countries with fewer environmental regulations does little to combat global climate change and creates resentment at home.”
Biden vowed the administration would do due diligence to rebuild communities that may be at the center of the shift toward clean energy.
“We’re never going to forget the men and women who dug the coal and built the nation,” Biden said. “We’re going to do right by them and make sure they have opportunities to keep building the nation and their own communities and getting paid well for it.”