PIKEVILLE — After being repeatedly denied in his attempts to have federal regulators hold hearings on the impact of proposed regulations in the Appalachian coalfields, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is planning to host one of his own.
To gauge the impact of proposed carbon limits on existing power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency scheduled 11 public hearings around the country. McConnell and other legislators objected, however, because none of the hearings were scheduled in rural areas or in coal-producing regions.
So, now McConnell is planning a hearing of his own, but it does not appear he is interested in hearing all sides. Instead, he is organizing what is being called a “pro-coal listening session,” and he is inviting an audience that “will consist of Eastern Kentucky community leaders, small business owners and coal families impacted by the President’s War on Coal.”
“The EPA has refused to hold a hearing in coal country, so I decided to organize a session in Pikeville so that those affected by the War on Coal will finally have a chance to have their voices heard,” McConnell said Monday in a statement to The Times.
The hearing will be held in the appropriately-named Coal Building, on the University of Pikeville campus, at 10 a.m., Friday. The building is located at 147 Sycamore Street.
McConnell said he hopes to gather stories about the casualties of the “War on Coal” and present them to regulators, so they can understand the ture impact of their decisions.
“Following the hearing, I plan on taking the messages that I receive from my constituents directly to the EPA so they can hear how President Obama’s War on Coal is impacting our coal miners and their families and the economy of Eastern Kentucky,” McConnell said.