Blog: President's War on Coal is a War on Jobs

Statement

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: July 1, 2013
Location: Unknown

The truth is finally out about President Obama, his EPA, and the barrage of job-killing regulations that have come from Washington ever since he took office.

For years, I have said this administration is waging a war on coal. Now, one of the White House climate advisors has publicly admitted so, saying "A war on coal is exactly what's needed."

What an astonishing bit of honesty from a high-ranking White House official. It really encapsulates this administration's attitude for states like Kentucky, where coal is such an important part of the economic well-being of many middle-class families, and where affordable energy is critical to the operations of many companies and small businesses and their ability to hire.

Declaring a war on coal is tantamount to declaring a war on jobs. The cheap, plentiful energy coal provides is critical to many Kentucky industries.

The Bluegrass State is the first in the nation in aluminum smelting. We're third in the production of auto parts. And Kentuckians know these types of industries strengthen not just the Commonwealth, but our entire nation by providing well-paying jobs for workers and their families and boosting economic growth.

In the global economy of the 21st Century, retaining--much less expanding--our manufacturing core is challenging. We face relentless competition from all corners of the globe. Government must be careful about the types of policies they enact.

That's one of the many reasons why Americans rejected the president's attempt to impose a national energy tax in his first term. You can't impose a national energy tax without cutting jobs and significantly raising energy costs--not just on their families, but also on their employers.

But the president recently announced he wants to ignore the will of the voters and voices in Congress, and push ahead with his war on coal. Whether we want it or not, he'll do it by presidential fiat: more executive orders, more czars, and more unaccountable bureaucrats.

And the president also had the opportunity to side with working-class families across the country by approving the Keystone Pipeline--but he declined.

For too many Kentuckians, wages are failing to keep pace with rising costs. Many families have seen their real median income decline in recent years. A survey released recently showed that three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

This is the reality of the Obama Economy. Even in the best of times, declaring a war on coal and imposing a national energy tax would be a bad idea. But in an era of unacceptably high unemployment, launching a war on coal is mind boggling.

The president may as well call his war on coal what it is: a war on jobs in this country, and a plan to ship jobs overseas.

Republicans are all for developing the fuels and the energies of the future. We think that should come about as part of an all-of-the-above strategy--let's develop wind, solar, natural gas, oil, and coal energy resources, all of them. That's just what the White House said it supported too, before the election.

But now, with the election over, the truth comes out from the White House: "A war on coal is exactly what's needed."

Removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our still-recovering economy. Kentuckians want common-sense policies to make energy cleaner and more affordable. That's what the president should be focused on. Incredibly, it appears to be the furthest thing from his mind. If the president doesn't want to alienate entire regions of the country, he must end his war on coal.