Several thousand workers from the coal and mining industry and their families converged on the west lawn of the Capitol building Tuesday to protest the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse-gas regulations.
The event, organized by Count on Coal, a grassroots coal-advocacy group, brought together lawmakers and coal workers from states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, which are likely to be hard hit by EPA’s regulations on coal-fired power plants.
“The coal business is really hurting because of what Obama’s done and we’re just trying to make a statement,” said Steve Morton, a 62-year-old worker at a preparation plant for a coal mine operated by KenAmerican Resources in Kentucky.
“They want to put coal out of business is what they want to do,” he added. “They’re doing their best to put regulations in place that nobody can afford.”
A number of lawmakers spoke at the rally, including Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., along with Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Many of them, including Capito, Paul, and McConnell, rallied around what has now become a well-worn battle cry of the coal industry — the idea that President Obama is waging a war on coal.
“When coal suffers, it’s not just the miners who suffer “¦ it’s the truck driver, it’s the waiter, it’s the teacher, it’s our railroads,” Capito said, to cheers. “Make no mistake: This is a war on coal. This is a war on American jobs.”
Paul similarly slammed the White House when he took to the stage amid considerable applause.
“I just got back from the mountains of Kentucky,” he said. “It’s not a recession. It’s a depression out there and I blame one man for this — President Barack Obama.”
Others, such as Rahall, were critical of proposed regulations to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, but stopped short of pointing the finger directly at the administration.
“You know, where I come from in the heart of West Virginia coal country, if you step across the line in someone else’s backyard and you challenge them to a fight, you stick around and you duke it out,” Rahall said. “We believe in a fair fight. But not this EPA, that’s not what they believe in. This EPA has been throwing regulatory stones, circumventing the Congress and snubbing its nose at the legal process.”
The rally comes as part of a major push this week against the EPA regulations, including draft legislation released by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Manchin to block proposed EPA regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants and grant Congress authority to decide when a rule-making for existing plants would take effect. A separate hearing will examine the impact of EPA regulations on coal communities.
What We're Following See More »
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.