The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) increased regulations on coal mining in Kentucky and several other states have done more than just tighten the rules in coal states; they have fueled an angry response from supporters of coal.
Coal workers are protesting the increased EPA regulations, as they both threaten their jobs and the coal industry as a whole.
Representatives from Kentucky’s coal industry joined members of the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal) and national legislators from both parties for a rally on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C., to protest the EPA’s new rules limiting mountaintop mining, which threaten one in every four coal jobs in the region. Nearly 18,000 jobs and 80 small businesses are linked to the new permits.
Not only do EPA mandates threaten Kentucky’s economy, they also jeopardize the commonwealth’s electricity rates, which are some of the lowest in the nation.
Coal produces more than 90 percent of Kentucky’s electricity and supports 84,000 jobs in the commonwealth, according to the National Mining Association.
When federal agencies like the EPA dictate rules and regulations, we as state citizens foot the bills – usually in the form of higher utility payments – and lose the jobs, neither of which Kentucky can afforded during the current economic malaise.