New coal job loss numbers highlight the choice Kentuckians face


Dr. Rand Paul - U.S. Senator



Tuesday’s coal jobs report is deeply unsettling. Last week as I traveled throughout eastern Kentucky, I witnessed the devastation caused by the War on Coal. From Corbin to Pineville, to Harlan to Whitesburg, and Pikeville to Campton, people are worried about the future.

The same people who created the War on Coal with impossible rules on carbon capture now argue that they will subsidize research to help companies comply with carbon capture. The only problem is that it makes no sense to bankrupt coal companies with regulations and then say, “Oh, now we will subsidize you so you try to meet these impossible regulations.”

President Obama and Hillary Clinton promised they would bankrupt coal. Having come very close to their goal of “putting coal miners out of business,” they are now saying they will rescue us with subsidies.

Forgive me if I am a little distrustful of the “help” being offered by people whose stated goal was to destroy a once great Kentucky industry.

You cannot be a friend to eastern Kentucky, western Kentucky or Kentucky coal if you support Hillary Clinton. You cannot call yourself a friend to our coal miners and their families if you supported Barack Obama. It’s just that simple.

You see, the problem with coal and jobs in Kentucky isn’t about a lack of funding or research into clean coal technology or carbon capture, something that is a decade or more away at best. The problem is the oppressive, job-killing regulations of the Obama administration that Hillary Clinton has vowed to continue.

I would repeal every last one of those regulations. I have voted over and over again to repeal the job-killing anti-coal regulations, only to have Obama use his veto to keep the regulations alive.

While Kentucky has many conservative Democrats, including some in my family, the national Democrats are 100 percent against coal and against eastern Kentucky. The question becomes — if your state representative supports Hillary Clinton, isn’t that a problem? If your local politician supports Hillary, isn’t that hurting any chance eastern Kentucky has of surviving?

National Democrat funding comes from environmental extremists whose entire agenda is to kill off coal.

Obama clearly and unapologetically said he would end the coal industry when he ran. Hillary has done the same. We should believe them and we should believe that their allies would do the same, no matter what they say when running in Kentucky.

I promised to lead the fight in defending Kentucky from the Obama-Clinton agenda of abusive EPA regulations, and I’ve fought back at every chance I’ve had.

In 2011, when the EPA proposed its newly modified and regulation-heavy Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, I introduced a bill to throw out the rule and ban the EPA from producing any substantially similar mandates. I also proudly cosponsored legislation to stop the destructive effects of both the Clean Power Plan and Stream Protection rules. When Hillary bragged about putting coal miners and their families out of business, I stood up for Kentucky and demanded an apology.

I’ve also introduced a plan to help revitalize the communities that have already been so incredibly damaged by the Obama-Clinton war on coal. I have proposed designating eligible counties in Kentucky as Economic Freedom Zones, which is an empowering solution using the resources we have right here in Kentucky.

Economic Freedom Zones are areas of reduced taxes and regulations, and increased incentives for businesses. They empower communities by leveraging the human capital, natural resources and business investment opportunities that already exist. By slashing the federal tax rate to 5 percent for a 10-year period in these areas, we can incentivize more businesses to locate in our struggling communities and provide more jobs and opportunities. With my plan, Eastern Kentucky would have kept over $500 million this year alone.

Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers, like politicians have done with the overregulation of the coal industry. My plan gets government out of the way, and lets consumers in the community decide who succeeds. Reducing the taxes in economically depressed areas is a stimulus that will work because the money is returned to businesses and individuals who have already proven they can succeed.

This week I’ll be headed to western Kentucky, and although it’s the opposite side of the state, the War on Coal has inflicted destruction upon Kentuckians there too. I plan to meet with leaders in the coal industry there, as I have done many times before, to hear their concerns and relay what I’m doing to fight back against the regulations strangling their industry and destroying the livelihoods of Kentucky families.

I’m leading the fight for Kentucky, our coal miners, and their families, but Kentuckians can join me in that fight. We can put a stop to the Clinton-Obama agenda, and it can happen at the ballot-box this November by electing true friends of coal, not allies of the very people calling for mass destruction of our industry.

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Dr. Rand Paul

U.S. Senator

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