Barr attacks Chandler on coal in latest ad, which features a western Ky. mine executive

09/18/2012 10:14 AM

UPDATED WITH A RESPONSE FROM BARR’S CAMPAIGN. Republican 6th congressional district candidate Andy Barr is taking his message on coal from the stump to the airwaves by attacking Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their policies toward coal.

Barr began airing his latest campaign ad this week in the Lexington TV market. However, the United Mine Workers of America, whose political action committee has backed Chandler, is criticizing the ad (see below). And Chandler has tried this summer to publicly distance himself from the EPA and reaffirm his support for the Kentucky coal industry.

Barr’s ad features two men dressed as coal miners talking to about the decline of the coal industry in Kentucky. But only one of them talks.

“Obama, Ben Chandler and the EPA are destroying us they’re putting the coal industry out of business and it’s just devastating,” says Heath Lovell. The Hearld-Leader’s Jack Brammer first reported that the man speaking is coal company executive Keith Lovell of Union County — which is in western Kentucky and not in the 6th District.

“I’ve never seen anything so appalling and deceitful from the coal industry and in a campaign,” said Steve Earle, a regional vice president of the UMWA in Kentucky according to Brammer’s story.

David Host, a spokesperson for Barr, said that Heath Lovell, the miner who speaks in the campaign ad, has been a miner since he was 18-years old and even though he’s a coal executive now he still wears the gear he’s seen in the ad wearing whenever he enters a mine.

Barr focused on coal in his speech at the RNC in Tampa. At the time, Barr said the speech wasn’t about politics, but rather the policies that keep Kentuckians employed.

Host said that the coal industry will play a major role in this race due to the redistricting of Wolfe and other coal producing counties into the 6th District and the importance of the industry overall as a signature industry.

Chandler has defended his vote for a cap and trade type system in 2009. Under that proposal, emissions of greenhouse gasses from industries and utilities would be capped but they could buy or trade credits in order to go beyond those caps. Chandler said that was preferable to having the EPA tighten regulations.

“My position has always been that that was a better option for the coal industry than the EPA coming in. And sure enough the EPA has come in and not brought anything with it to try to minimize the negative effects on the coal industry,” Chandler said. “This is an EPA that has been heading in this direction for many, many years. In fact during the Bush administration it was headed in this direction.”

The race is a rematch from the 2010 campaign where Chandler defeated Barr by less than 700 total votes.


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