Thousands of people gathered at the site, just outside of Hindman, to take part in a rally against the cap and trade bill recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, critics say, will have a devastating effect on the coal industry through added cost for power companies to emit greenhouse gases. In turn, they say, that added cost will be placed on the consumer in the form of a higher power bill.
The rally began at noon with a line of motor vehicles, including several tractor-trailers, stretching out from the Sportsplex to the roadway at Ky. 80. Several law enforcement officers were also on hand to direct the large amount of traffic flowing into the area, including officers and deputies from the Hazard Police Department and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office.
Much of the crowd was made of miners and their families. Mike Eversole of Perry County works for International Coal Group, and said he attended the rally to show his support for the industry and the jobs it provides. He noted that he can’t predict what the cap and trade bill would do to the industry, but if the mining of coal halts, so does the economy of Eastern Kentucky.
“If there wasn’t coal there wouldn’t be electricity,” he said. “There wouldn’t be a whole lot of other stuff, because about everything ties into coal. Not only that, but wherever there was coal mines in the towns, it would hurt the economy.”
Several local and state officials were on hand to rally against the measure, including many from Perry County such as Sen. Brandon Smith, Rep. Fitz Steele, and Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble. Others included Sen. Robert Stivers, Knott County Judge Executive Randy Thompson, and Rep. Ancil Smith among others.
For more on this story see the next edition of the Hazard Herald, out August 5.