Mitch McConnell’s Drive to Keep the Coal Fires Burning

Courtesy of The New York Times. By FRANCIS X. CLINES

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never been so busy or so aggressive in his role as the defender of Big Coal’s interests as he is now. Earlier this month, the powerful Republican from coal-rich Kentucky made an unusual move in reaching beyond Congress anddirectly urging state governors not to cooperate with the Obama administration’s pending new regulations to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. McConnell advised governors of coal-dependent states to simply not file the compliance plans needed to carry out the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed tightening of restrictions.

Not content with that states’-rights sally, Mr. McConnell has proposed a special amendment to the federal budget that would give states wide leeway to opt out of the new federal rules on their own initiative. Under the amendment, a governor or legislature could choose among a list of reasons to justify a rebuff of the cleaner rules. These include claimed threats to the state’s economy, power plant investments, electricity prices, employment rolls or government revenue, according to The Hill.

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