The Obama Administration recently unleashed its latest attack on Kentucky coal jobs, miners, and their families by unveiling the final version of its so-called Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. This move demands and deserves a forceful response from those of us who seek to protect Kentucky coal.
When the Obama Administration released the preliminary version of this regulation last year, it was more than apparent that it would mean closing power plants, cutting more jobs, and increasing the cost of electricity for families and businesses across our state.
I raised my concerns directly with the EPA and invited EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Kentucky to hear our objections firsthand. Yet, instead of listening and reworking their proposed regulation, the administration has issued a plan that would shrink our economy significantly and raise electricity rates for the Kentucky families who can least afford it. And it would reduce the affordable, plentiful energy we get from coal, which is critical to industries throughout Kentucky.
Even Kentucky’s Democratic governor called the final plan “disastrous” for the state’s coal and manufacturing industries. Yet for all these detrimental effects, it would have no real impact on the global environment.
Recently, a constituent from eastern Kentucky wrote to tell me just how badly these regulations are hurting his business. As he put it, “without manufacturing there is no middle class, and it seems like President Obama would like nothing more than to destroy manufacturing here and in the rest of the country.”
And Tony Campbell, president and CEO of East Kentucky Power, said this regulation will “effectively remove coal as an option for future power plants,” and “will put pressure on costs to rise.”
So the battle continues. I’ve fought this administration and its EPA every step of the way in the President’s war on coal, and I don’t intend to stop now.
I wrote a letter to every governor in the country suggesting they take a wait-and-see approach before subjecting their states to unnecessary pain by complying with the EPA’s request for state implementation plans for the so-called Clean Power Plan–since it’s questionable whether issuing this regulation is even within the EPA’s legal authority. I’ve heard from several governors who have said they will not comply, and I expect more will follow suit.
I was also recently able to place language in a U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations bill that would guarantee that governors who heeded my warning would be protected by prohibiting the administration from arbitrarily imposing its will on states that take this responsible approach.
If enacted, the measure I secured would restrict the EPA from using its funding to force states to submit an implementation plan. Kentucky’s next governor, no matter who wins the election, could forego compliance with this harsh regulation without fear of retaliation from the EPA.
Fourteen states have already joined forces to file a lawsuit against the EPA challenging the legality of the so-called Clean Power Plan. I applaud this effort, which is why I’m also a cosponsor of a bill in the Senate that would prohibit the EPA’s regulations from moving forward until the courts have ruled on their legality. I was pleased when this bill, the ARENA Act sponsored by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, was able to pass favorably out of committee.
And I’m actively pursuing other legislative options, including a procedure called the Congressional Review Act, by which Congress can attempt to overturn regulations issued by the executive branch.
We must take advantage of all of these tools in the face of the Obama Administration’s attack on Kentucky jobs. Kentucky’s coal industry provides a way of life for thousands of families. For every miner employed, three more Kentuckians hold jobs indirectly dependent on coal.
It is thanks to coal that generations of Kentuckians have been able to get good-paying jobs that help them afford food, clothing, medical care and other necessities. That’s why the administration’s plan represents a disturbing triumph of left-wing ideology over common sense and compassion.
And that’s also why this president won’t get the last word. I’ll keep up the fight against this administration and this EPA through the many tools at Congress’s disposal to rein in out-of-control bureaucrats. My promise is this: I will not sit idly by while this administration tries to wipe out the lifeblood of our state’s economy.
See the article here.
- On September 8, 2015