Bill Bissett

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Kentucky’s coal industry shed more jobs and production during the last quarter of 2015, according to new data released today.

Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net

People on both sides of the energy debate seem to agree that costs for the consumer are going to go up.  

Clean energy and federal emissions standards were widely discussed this week at the 39th Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment.

Wikimedia Commons/Author: PixOnTrax

Earlier this month, Bank of America became the latest large financial institution to announce it would limit its financing of coal companies.

The move stemmed from concerns about climate change and regulatory factors that make investing in the industry more risky. The new approach to coal companies was pushed by environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network. But in Kentucky, the head of the coal association said the policy would likely have little practical impact on the coal industry.

Jan Truter / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

In a new final rule this week the Mine Safety and Health Administration is requiring underground coal mines to equip their continuous mining machines with proximity detectors that give a warning and shut down the equipment when a miner gets too close.

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold hearings this week on proposed regulations to limit the carbon dioxide coal-fired power plants can emit. Environmental activists and coal industry supporters are both traveling from Kentucky to Atlanta this week for the federal hearing.

The EPA’s rule would cut carbon dioxide emissions nationwide. The proposal sets emissions goals for each state, and leaves it up to individual states to decide how to achieve those goals.  But before the rule is finalized, there are months of public comment. People can submit comments in writing, or make public statements at one of the four hearings happening this week. But Bill Bissett of the Kentucky Coal Association says it’s worth it to many to make the trek.

“I think the difference is, you can send a letter, you can send an email, but I think it’s important, one, that the people on the other side of this issue hear what we have to say as people who support coal,” said Bissett.  “But I think also, we need to hear what they have to say. To me, it’s a very democratic principle of this country, to be heard publicly."

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

The new Environmental Protection Agency rules seek to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.  State's heavily dependent on coal, like Kentucky, are expected to have some flexibility in meeting a new standard.  Still, Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett believes an already diminished eastern Kentucky mining industry would suffer more job losses and says the potential impact goes beyond the coal fields to all manufacturers.

Coal Association Applauds Federal Ruling

Aug 1, 2012
www.wikipedia.com

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett is applauding a federal court ruling that found the EPA overstepped its authority in establishing water quality criteria for consideration of mining permits. He calls the decision Tuesday by U. S. District Judge Reggie Walton “a victory for all of Kentucky and West Virginia.”