CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As the war continues in Ukraine and many countries are putting sanctions on Russian exports, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says a crisis like this is why the United States needs to become energy independent, and that independence could start in West Virginia.

During a speech in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, March 11, he said the fossil fuels industries are often “kicked” around, but are now being called upon to “potentially save the world” during the energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia that have caused inflation on gasoline in the U.S.

“Today, the very resources we have, coal, oil, and gas – our fossil fuels – are now on the brink of preventing, if not saving the world,” Justice said.

“Energy is a weapon and we best better realize it.”

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice

The governor also shared his sympathies for the people of Ukraine as civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals have been under fire from shellings and bombings, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “madman” and a “bully” that needed to be stopped.

“I stand first and foremost for God, I really do. I stand first and foremost for America. I stand first and foremost for West Virginia. And today, I stand wholeheartedly for Ukraine,” Justice said.

Justice said during his speech that creating legislation and working to build the industries for forms of clean energy, such as nuclear, hydrogen, windmills and solar panels need to be placed on hold for the time being saying there is time to “solve the riddle,” but the people of Ukraine need help now. However, during his speech, the governor did not provide any plans or policies regarding energy resources in West Virginia.

“I yearn for exactly what you yearn for. We want the most pristine waters and air. We absolutely want the best of the best of the best, and I’m telling you, and you better listen to me, this day in time, and I don’t mean this in a frivolous way in any way, but today, whether it be nuclear or hydrogen, or windmills or solar panels, all of those we want to embrace, and I’m there, but they’re the parsley around the sides of the plate. The meat and potatoes are our gas, our oil and our coal,” Justice said.

Justice also says he will be sending the West Virginia State Senate a letter requesting $5 million to be allocated in support of the Ukrainian children’s hospital recently bombed by Russian military forces.