U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following comments Tuesday regarding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Field Hearings in Kentucky:
Mr. President, hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory agenda will be held in Kentucky this week. One hearing will be held today in Frankfort and another later this week in Pikeville. Since Congress is in session this week, I won’t be able to attend these important hearing in person but I will have a representative on hand at each hearing, and I wanted to express my thoughts on this matter today on the Senate floor.
Like most of the country, Kentucky is suffering from very difficult economic times. Far too many Kentuckians are unemployed and the prospect for future employment remains daunting. That’s why it is especially irritating that this Administration has blindly followed ideological policies that eliminate jobs in our communities. The people of Kentucky are amongst the hardest-working people on the planet but how can we be expected to compete if our own government is working against us?
Simply put, my constituents are under siege from the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda and the EPA is the worst offender.
Perhaps the clearest example of this Administration’s regulatory assault is its War on Coal. Since being sworn in, President Obama’s EPA has set out to circumvent the will of Congress and the American people by turning the already-cumbersome mine permitting process into a back-door means of shutting down coal mines.
Eighteen thousand Kentuckians work in coal mining. And nearly 200,000 more, including farmers, realtors, and transportation workers, rely on the coal industry for their jobs. Coal brings in more than three and a half billion dollars from out-of-state, and pays more than one billion dollars in direct wages every year. Attacking an industry so important to Kentucky will only succeed in putting people out of work, impeding future job growth, and increasing energy prices.
A former senior EPA official under the Obama administration recently summed up the regulatory philosophy of the agency with respect to those working in the coal business by saying it wants to ‘crucify’ them.
With this radical environmental/anti-coal agenda, it is no wonder the Administration has failed to answer the American people’s call for greater domestic energy production. The real-world impact of their fantasy-world energy policy is that people are losing their jobs and energy prices will rise even further.
It is high time the Obama administration stopped treating the Kentucky coal industry as the problem, and start recognizing that it has been and will continue to be part of the solution.”