Coal

Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Democratic US Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is attacking the Obama administration for an Environmental Protection Agency ruling that she said will cost coal mining jobs in Kentucky.

Grimes, who’s seeking to replace Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said she was deeply disappointed by the EPA’s decision to impose stricter limits on carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

The proposed standard sets an emissions limit of 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for large natural gas plants, and 1100 pounds per megawatt hour for coal and smaller natural gas plants.

The pro-coal message of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was complicated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, who blocked a bill introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to ease federal regulations.

Reid's actions comes just days after Grimes called on the Obama administration to hold off on new environmental restrictions.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell asked for unanimous consent on his  "Saving Coal Jobs Act" to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing carbon emission standards for power plants.

"The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics," McConnell said. "The EPA’s actions ignore the thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods."

Reid quickly objected to delay the bill while promising to hold a vote at a later date despite McConnell's urgency that the measure is needed now ahead of new EPA emission standards this week.

A coal industry leader had already raised doubts about Grimes being a more effective voice for Kentucky coal operators and miners than McConnell. But Reid's maneuvering raises further questions about whether Grimes can stand up to the Democratic leader while relying on him politically to unseat McConnell.

"Alison isn't afraid to stand up to members of either party," a Grimes campaign aide told WFPL. "She will stand up for Kentucky as its next U.S. Senator. When she is in the Senate she will get things done on behalf of Kentucky's working families. Today just underscores McConnell's weakness and ineffectiveness. His influence isn't working and he's unable to deliver for the people of Kentucky."

Peabody Energy Corp. wants a bankruptcy court to confirm that it can terminate its obligation to fund Patriot Coal’s retiree health care benefits.

Peabody is one of the largest private sector coal companies in the world and one of its many spin-offs is Patriot, which operates two mines in Union and Henderson counties.

As U.S. consumption of coal declines, it’s led to economic problems in some of the country’s coalfields—most notably, Appalachia. For the past few years, the buzzword from the coal industry has been “exports:" relying on a rising demand for coal in countries like China and India to help cushion the blow to the region’s economy.

omu.org

An environmental group is launching an aggressive campaign urging the retirement of the coal-burning Elmer Smith Power Plant in Owensboro.

The Sierra Club will have ads featured in both print and web versions of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, in addition to a door-to-door effort.

Debuting Sunday, September 1 at 9 am

The words "Kentucky Coal" often summon images of the blackened faces of miners emerging from the dark pits of the eastern mountains. In fact, coal mining in the Commonwealth began long before, in the Western Coal Fields of the 1820s. Ever since, from the first mines of McLean's Drift Bank in Muhlenberg County, to the massive operations beneath many western counties, coal has been a major part of our region's life, its politics, and its economy. 

Made possible with the underwriting support of Jennmar.

Patriot Coal has a bankruptcy judge's go-ahead to enter into a new labor agreement with the nation's biggest miners' union, ending a long, acrimonious dispute.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States on Tuesday granted St. Louis-based Patriot's request to put in place the collective bargaining deal ratified Friday by the United Mine Workers of America.

Now that Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, the speculation about how Grimes will campaign against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—and on what issues—has begun.  

The United Mine Workers of America plan to appeal a court ruling that will significantly cut health care and pension benefits to thousands of workers and retirees, including many in Kentucky.

On Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kathy Surratt-States approved Peabody Energy Corp. spin-off Patriot Coal’s request to impose wage and benefit cuts by throwing out its collective bargaining agreements with the UMW. Union spokesman Phil Smith says the battle is far from over, however.

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