Energy

Lawmaker Forces EPA Chief To Watch Video Of Unemployed Coal Miners

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Rep. Gary Palmer took time in a congressional hearing to respond to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s claim there is no evidence EPA regulations are killing jobs.

The Alabama Republican showed McCarthy, and everyone else at the hearing, a video featuring coal miners who had lost their jobs, as the industry buckles under the weight of federal regulations and poor economics.

“Administrator McCarthy, if you don’t remember anything else out of this hearing today, I want you to remember the faces and the voices of the people who’ve had their lives absolutely destroyed by the EPA’s policies,” Palmer said after showing McCarthy the video.

Palmer was reacting to comments McCarthy made in April when talking about agency regulations and how they impact the economy. McCarthy said she couldn’t find “one single bit of evidence that we have destroyed an industry or significantly impacted jobs other than in a positive way.”

Apparently, thousands of out-of-work coal miners across the country would beg to differ, according to Palmer, and just a few of them were featured in the video he made Obama’s top environmental regulator watch.

“You know it’s really easy to sit here and have this discussion about these regulations and try to deny they have an impact on people, but, you know, you are having an impact on people and unnecessarily so,” Palmer said.

“You’ve destroyed thousands of jobs,” he added, “and I don’t look at them as collateral damage. Here’s a guy who, one of those families who sat their and he cried through the interview.

“You got another guy whose wife’s diagnosed with cancer right after he lost his job. You got two daughters having to drop out of college,” he said, referring to miners depicted in the video.

Indeed, nearly 13,000 coal miners have lost their jobs in the last year as the coal industry continues to contract. Coal companies have blamed, to varying degrees, EPA regulations for making it basically illegal to build new coal plants and too costly to keep older plants open.

Joblessness in coal country has gotten so bad, coal miners unions, which are traditional democratic allies, have thrown their weight behind Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Trump has promised to repeal EPA regulations blamed for castrating the industry, while Democrat Hillary Clinton has promised to increase environmental regulation and provide mining towns with welfare.

“We’re going to get those miners back to work,” Trump said at a recent campaign rally. “The miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week, and Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again. Believe me. You’re going to be proud again to be miners.”

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