500+ Turn Out for Subcommittee Hearing in Heart of Coal Country – Negative Effects of EPA Regulations on Jobs, Local Communities Highlighted

July 17, 2012

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a field hearing yesterday in Abingdon, Virginia, to examine the real world consequences of EPA regulations on the nation’s coal communities. According to local news reports, over 500 coal industry supporters attended yesterday’s hearing. Members heard compelling testimony from coal miners, power plant operators, and manufacturers who described how EPA’s actions are threatening the livelihoods of local families and businesses. Despite 41 consecutive months of higher than 8 percent national unemployment, the EPA’s regulations are threatening to put countless more Americans out of work. Watch Bluefield, VA NBC affiliate WVVA’s report on the hearing HERE.

Miners, manufacturers, more speak out for coal industry
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
July 17, 2012

ABINGDON, Va. — Coal miners, manufacturers, utility company presidents, and other officials spoke before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power Monday as part of a field hearing on the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., along with Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., were among the panelists at the hearing.

Donna Kessinger, a Southwest Virginia mother and certified electrician and mechanic at Cliffs Natural Resources’ Pinnacle Mine, was one of the many who testified before the committee. During the hearing, Kessinger said regulations currently being faced by the coal industry are putting jobs and families like hers at risk.

“Our jobs allow us to put food on the table, buy clothes for our children, and provide our families with good health care so we can lead productive lives,” Kessinger said to the panel. “Coal mining makes this possible. My industry is under attack, and that means my job is under attack. My livelihood and the well being of my family is at stake. I’m proud to be a coal miner. This is an honorable profession that should be respected.”

Griffith said Kessinger is a prime example of what many in the coal industry are facing as the result of EPA regulations.

“She is a single mom and worried about her job,” Griffith said. “She wants to make ends meet and there isn’t another job that could bring in the money she has now. She said being a coal miner is an honorable profession and should be respected. She is a woman who is just trying to raise her daughter and have a chance at living the American dream.” …

Read the entire article online here.

Republicans Bring Charge of Obama ‘War on Coal’ to Virginia
By Mark Drajem
July 16, 2012

Republicans took their complaints about President Barack Obama’s rules to curb pollution from coal power plants to rural Virginia today, saying the regulations will harm the economy of the election battleground state.

Joining the lawmakers at a hearing in the coal-dependent southwest corner of the state were representatives from coal miner Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR), power generator Dominion Resources Inc. (D), and a unit of energy holding company PPL Corp. (PPL) The executives said the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse-gas rules would effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired plants, leading to job losses and higher electricity costs.

“Under this proposal, I don’t see a way forward” for new coal plants, John Voyles, vice president of LG&E and KU Energy LLC, a unit of PPL, told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today in Abingdon, Virginia. The regulation would require that coal plants have carbon-capture technology, which is “currently undemonstrated” and “not cost-effective under current market conditions,” he said. …

For critics, from mining companies and utilities to coal- country lawmakers, the rules are the latest in a string of EPA regulations they say are meant to put the fossil fuel out of business. And Republicans in crucial electoral states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia are using that threat to take aim at Obama and his fellow Democrats.

“Under President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency has cranked out one costly anti-coal regulation after another,” Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, said at the hearing. “The agency tells us we need these measures to protect us from global warming, but in my view the cure is considerably worse than the disease.” …

Read the entire article online here.