The coal industry is hitting back against attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who highlighted the Obama administration’s energy policies during a campaign stop in Colorado. Those policies, he said, are hostile toward coal.
A video released Friday by America’s Power, a coal industry-funded advocacy group, focused on the towns of Nucla and Naturita, Colo., where proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency threaten to close a coal mine and a coal plant. The regulations cover mercury emissions and other pollutant standards.
If the EPA’s proposed rules were passed, the plants would be unable to afford the upgrades necessary to continue operation, leaving what one local business owner called “a ghost town.”
“If you wipe out those 150 jobs, when you’ve only got a town of 600 people, you’re going to have a ghost town and that’s going be all there is to it,” Apothecary Shoppe owner Don A. Colcord said in the video.
“You’ve got bureaucrats who run the EPA. They won’t let you burn coal, they won’t let you mine coal. We have coal to power this whole country. What are we going to do? Pretty soon this country is going to grind to a halt and we’re doing it to ourselves, and that’s what’s so frustrating.”
Nucla Station plant manager Howard Kettle found it ironic that his facility was being punished despite its record. ”It’s pretty troublesome, the fact that we set the standard — or help set the standard — for mercury here at the plant, and that rule is the one that could possibly shut us down.”
In 2008, the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program awarded the plant the Bronze Achiever status; in 2009 the Nucla station won the Silver Achiever status. The statewide environmental reward program is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Sustainability Program.
The video comes in the wake of a backlash against Romney’s visit to Craig, Colo. — a town highlighted in a previous video by the non-profit Institute for Energy Research. Critics alleged that the Colorado economy is actually on an upswing, and that the billionaire libertarian brothers Charles and David Koch are behind the video’s messaging.
Coal provides the source for more than 40 percent of America’s electricity.