Republicans Opposed To EPA Global Warming Regulations Likened To Slavery Apologists

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Is pushing back against EPA regulations tantamount to being an apologist for slavery? The Lexington Herald-Leader’s editorial board thinks so.

The board wrote an editorial slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, for trying to “obstruct climate protections” by urging state governors not to implement EPA global warming regulations.

“Mitch McConnell and others who are trying to obstruct climate protections will be regarded one day in the same way we think of 19th-century apologists for human slavery: How could economic interests blind them to the immorality of their position?” the Herald-Leader wrote.

“While McConnell is getting applause from the usual right-wing think tanks and front groups, he’s at odds with most Americans,” the newspaper opined.

McConnell wrote his own response oped, arguing that the “Herald-Leader’s recent attempt to equate those who work in the Kentucky coal fields … with the Southern plantation owners who once enriched themselves off the backs of slaves is a depressing new low.”

“It’s no secret that liberal progressives have a hard time moderating their passions or prioritizing outrage,” McConnell wrote. “But drawing a moral equivalence between America’s original sin of slavery and the fight for Kentucky coal reveals a profound lack of moral seriousness — not to mention a troubling indifference to an industry that keeps this commonwealth and this country running.”

The EPA is preparing to finalize rules this summer that could cripple the U.S. coal industry. The one McConnell is most worried about is called the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and requires states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. McConnell argues the CPP will make economically crippling cuts while having no effect on global warming.

A recent study by the right-leaning American Action Forum found the CPP could cost coal communities 300,000 jobs — Kentucky alone would lose more than 21,000 jobs by 2030 because of the CPP.

But McConnell says it’s the rule’s constitutionality that worries him. President Obama’s Harvard University mentor Laurence Tribe said the rule was “burning the Constitution.” Tribe argued the EPA is “attempting to exercise lawmaking power that belongs to Congress and judicial power that belongs to the federal courts.”

About one dozen states have challenged the CPP in federal courts — oral arguments were actually heard last week. This only adds to worries that states who decide to begin implementing the rule now may be left in the dark if the courts strike it down.

“However you look at it, the EPA’s new climate rule is a disaster, and I won’t stand idly by while the administration tries to ram it past my constituents in an illegal or unconstitutional manner,” McConnell wrote. “Nor will I stand idly by without defending Kentuckians from lost jobs and higher energy bills.”

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