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Image: Coal Country Lawmakers Outraged Over Obama's Energy Action

Coal Country Lawmakers Outraged Over Obama's Energy Action

By Andrea Billups   |   Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 03:35 PM

Coal country leaders are pushing back against President Barack Obama's release of a climate action plan, which one lawmaker said would be "an unrecoverable blow" to the economy that could end a way of life for many hard-working miners.

Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia went on the attack after Obama adviser Daniel Schrag asserted that "a war on coal is exactly what's needed," The Charleston State Journal reported.

"President Obama failed to get his environmental agenda through Congress for a reason," Capito said. "Despite common sense and the voice of Congress, it appears he will unilaterally forge ahead with his partisan agenda.

"By shutting down the production of coal, not only will the president make it impossible for America to become energy-independent, but he could deliver an unrecoverable blow to coal-rich states like West Virginia."

Other West Virginia leaders also spoke out, along with a coalition of attorneys general from coal-producing states, noting the impact of overregulation on jobs and the economy if the coal industry is decimated amid the administration's new energy goals.

"There is no sense in any extra legal order by any president that will raise the price of electricity for every American. No one is served by not using the gifts and resources that God has blessed upon West Virginia," West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said in a statement.

"It's a time for choosing. We choose West Virginia coal. Obama chooses unemployment and higher electricity costs," Lucas said.

Obama spoke Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown University on global warming and the need for a tougher energy policy to avert climate change problems.

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul also criticized Obama's energy plan, saying he would fight back and stand up for miners in his coal-rich state.

"President Obama today declared a war on coal, and thus declared a war on Kentucky jobs and our economy," said Paul. "Whether it is through the retroactive denial of permits, onerous regulations on coal-fired power plants, or unreasonable environmental requirements, the policies of this administration are threatening the very way of life that has sustained Kentucky communities for generations.

"As a defender of the free market and of coal, I will continue to fight back against the EPA and any other federal agency whose goal is to stifle coal production. I will continue to stand up for our miners in Washington as we continue to recognize the sacrifices they make to provide food for their families and energy for America," Paul added.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch was equally blunt in his condemnation of Obama's energy agenda, calling it "unilateral" and damaging to economic growth.

"Let's be clear about the consequences of what the president wants to do: higher energy costs passed on to consumers across Utah and the country, and fewer jobs at a time when three-quarters of the American people are living paycheck to paycheck," Hatch said in a statement.

"That he can’t get a national energy tax through Congress shows how unpopular his plan is," Hatch said. "Just this morning it was reported that one of the president’s advisers is urging the President to wage a 'war on coal.'"

Hatch said, "It's simply baffling that President Obama is proceeding with this unilateral energy policy that will hurt Americans struggling to pay their bills and get a job."

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