U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell participated in a coal jobs press conference outside the U.S. Capitol today with members of the Kentucky delegation. The event was organized by Congressman Ed Whitfield. During the press conference, Senator McConnell talked about the legislation he introduced last week that would block recent EPA regulations limiting carbon emissions on new power plants.
"I proudly joined my colleagues today on behalf of the thousands of Kentucky coal miners and their families who are struggling because of the President's War on Coal," Senator McConnell said. "This is a serious issue affecting our state; some mountain coal counties have already suffered with unemployment rates over 15%, and more than 27,000 Kentuckians have written to me on coal since President Obama took office. Kentuckians are sophisticated enough to understand that it's not just these regulations that caused Kentucky coal jobs to plummet from 18,600 the year Obama took office to just 13,000 today. But a lot of our coal country devastation is, in fact, due to these regulations. And Kentuckians expect Washington leaders to stand by their side when they're hurting, not pile on. This is unacceptable and I believe coal mining families deserve more job security and certainty. This is why I recently introduced and proceeded to take up the Saving Coal Jobs Act last week."
The Saving Coal Jobs Act streamlines the mine permitting process for new coal mines by putting the EPA on the clock for approving 404 and 402 permit applications that sit idle. The measure also prevents additional EPA carbon standards for new and existing plants by requiring Congressional approval. Unfortunately, Minority Leader Harry Reid blocked this legislation when Senator McConnell called for it to be taken up by the Senate last week. Senator McConnell will continue to push for passage of this legislation.
Also, last week following the EPA's announcement of the regulation, Senator McConnell announced his intention to file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to stop the EPA from imposing its new regulation by ensuring a vote to repeal it. The CRA provides a procedure for expedited consideration in the Senate. If Sen. McConnell's resolution of disapproval is adopted by both Houses and enacted into law, it can nullify the EPA rule, even if it has already gone into effect.
The McConnell legislation is supported by: KY Coal Association, KY Farm Bureau, KY Association of Manufacturers, KY League of Cities, KY Chamber of Commerce, Ashland Alliance, Commerce Lexington, Northern KY Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Tax Reform.