Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told those gathered at a Sunday town hall meeting in Ohio her policies would close coal companies and force coal miners out of work.
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said at the event, video of which was posted on YouTube by America Rising, a conservative political action committee.
The former Secretary of State went on to say that “we don’t want to forget those people” in the coal industry who will lose their jobs as a result of Clinton’s policies. “And now we’ve got to move away from coal,” Clinton added.
A group representing Ohio’s coal industry issued a scathing statement in response to Clinton’s comments.
“Hillary Clinton’s callous statements about coal miners, struggling under the weight of a hostile administration, are reprehensible and will not be forgotten,” Christian Palich, President of the Ohio Coal Association, said in a press statement Monday. “The way Secretary Clinton spoke so nonchalantly about destroying the way of life for America’s coal families was chilling.”
Clinton urged the audience to fear not, as her policies would also allow the renewable energy sector to take up the slack, transitioning Ohioans from coal jobs to green jobs.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump took a different tact at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, Saturday afternoon, telling the crowd regulators are unfairly targeting the state’s coal industry.
The EPA’s regulations on coal in Ohio is a “complete disaster, we are going to change things around,” Trump said at the rally, ahead of the state’s March 15 primary.
“We have to protect your coal industry which is being decimated” by EPA regulations, Trump added. “And we have to protect your steel industry.”
Ohio’s coal industry has come under siege by developments in natural gas and EPA regulations.
A study in April shows the coal industry has bled nearly 50,000 jobs in 5 years — 2008 to 2012 — due to regulations and cheap natural gas.
President Barack Obama, for his part, told NPR in an interview in December that opposition to his coal policies by people in the Appalachia, which encompasses the state of Ohio, is “perfectly legitimate.”
This is not the first time Obama has copped to targeting the coal industry.
During the 2008 presidential election, for example, then-candidate Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle his policies would one day bankrupt the coal industry.
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Obama told the Chronicle.
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