Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his Saving Coal Jobs Act must be passed, in order to ease U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restrictions that he says are stifling the industry.
The five-term Republican said the number of Kentucky coal miners has decreased from 18,600 to 13,000 in the years since President Barack Obama took office.
McConnell introduced the legislation Tuesday. Thursday, he called on lawmakers to pass the measure, but was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The first part of the bill would prevent the EPA from regulating carbon on new and existing coal plants; the second would force the EPA to stop stalling mining permits.
McConnell’s likely general election challenger in next year’s U.S. Senate race, Alison Lundergan Grimes, counters that the commonwealth has lost 1,400 coal mines in the three decades McConnell has been in Washington.