The Environmental Protection Agency is in Kentucky this week taking testimony on the federal government’s objection to 36 coal mining permits in Eastern Kentucky.
The EPA held a hearing in Frankfort last night. Both coal supporters and environmental activists attended the hearing, but the coal lobby was louder and more visible. Their message was reinforced by nearly every elected official who spoke at the hearing. Hopkins County representative Ben Wade chided the EPA, saying it had gone too far.
“Coal is mined in Kentucky in an environmentally responsible way. Everything we do here is legal, until you change the rules. And when you do that, I submit to you respectfully, you broke the law, and you need to be accountable for that,” says Wade.
Of the twenty-one elected officials who spoke—ranging from county judge executives to representatives for Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, only one spoke in favor of the EPA’s opposition to the permits. Louisville representative Joni Jenkins voiced her support for EPA regulations, and cited coal ash concerns in Louisville. The EPA is holding another hearing Thursday in Pikeville, beginning at noon.