- Professional Journalist
In the latest skirmish in the Democratic federal administration’s war on coal, President Obama yesterday announced new restrictions on U.S. power plants that are, in the words of the New York Times, “the strongest action ever taken in the United States to combat climate change.” The president will instruct U.S. power plants to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by just under one-third (32 percent). States will have until 2018 to submit their plans, and until 2030 to implement them.
Kentucky politicians—including at least two Democrats—immediately lashed back at the president’s executive action.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposed regulations a “blow to the economy,” and suggested they will “harm struggling workers and families.”
“They’ll also likely to result in higher energy bills for those who can least afford them, potentially raising electricity rates by double digits for the people I represent,” said McConnell. “All this, for what?” he continued, “Not only will these massive regulations fail to meaningfully affect the global climate, but they could actually end up harming the environment by outsourcing energy production to countries with poor environmental records like India and China. They may also be illegal.”
McConnell went on to characterize the new rules as “…a triumph of blind ideology over sound policy and honest compassion. And in Kentucky, these regulations would likely mean fewer jobs, shuttered power plants, and higher electricity costs for families and businesses. I will not sit by while the White House takes aims at the lifeblood of our state’s economy. I’m going to keep doing everything I can to fight them.”
Kentucky’s junior senator, Republican Rand Paul, had this to say: “To stop Washington bureaucrats from limiting our energy choices and waging their war against one of the most affordable and abundant forms of energy we have, I have co-sponsored Senate Republican Leader, and fellow Kentuckian, Mitch McConnell's S. 861 Coal Jobs Protection Act. Our bill keeps the EPA from using back-door tactics to stifle coal production.”
Kentucky’s Democratic Governor, Steve Beshear—usually a strong supporter of President Obama—said, “I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by the huge changes the EPA made from the proposed rule. What is being proposed for Kentucky is disastrous – disastrous for our declining coal economy and equally disastrous for our very important manufacturing economy. The EPA claimed that it listened to the comments received on the proposed rule for the Clean Power Plan. It is clear from the emissions numbers the EPA has set for Kentucky that the agency did not listen to us. This rule leaves the Commonwealth with few, if any, alternatives to formulate a plan without significant harmful impact to rate payers, manufacturing companies and the overall economy.”
Attorney General, and Democratic candidate for governor in next year’s election, Jack Conway, was quick to jump on the pro-coal bandwagon” "I sued to stop this rule when it was first proposed. Now that it has come out in its final form, I will continue to fight this Kentucky job-killing rule. I will be joining a bipartisan group of attorneys general asking the EPA and the federal court to stay implementation of this rule while it's challenged in court. I believe, once again, the courts will rule that the EPA has overstepped its authority.
“It is apparent the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that hurt Kentucky. I have challenged the President in the past and won — that is just what I plan to do in this case. This is about the future of our Commonwealth and ensuring that our state doesn't bear the brunt of an ill-conceived Washington, D.C. regulation that hurts Kentucky coal and Kentucky jobs. I will continue fighting this rule with my fellow attorneys general, and we fight to win."
Louisville’s Third-District Congressman, Democrat John Yarmuth, had no comment.