McConnell introduces 'Coal Country Protection Act'; Pro-McConnell PAC targeting Grimes on coal

06/03/2014 10:27 AM

UPDATED WITH GRIMESCAMPAIGN RESPONSE: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and a group supporting him responded legislatively and politically Tuesday to new Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at cutting carbon emissions including from coal fired power plants.

A super PAC in Kentucky used the new rules to link McConnell’s opponent to President Barack Obama as Kentucky’s senior senator introduced a new bill on the Senate floor intended to block increased carbon emission standards one day after the EPA announced the regulations.

McConnell’s bill requires several federal agencies to show that increased carbon emission standards will not eliminate jobs or hurt the economy before the rules can proceed.

“That’s why today I’m introducing legislation, the Coal Country Protection Act, that would push back against the President’s extreme anti-coal scheme. It would require that simple but important benchmarks be met before his rules could take effect,” McConnell said.

McConnell said the bill would do require four checks from federal officials before the new regulations could take place:

• The Secretary of Labor would have to certify that it would not generate loss of employment.

• The director of the Congressional Budget Office would have to certify that it would not result in any loss in American gross domestic product.

• The administrator of the Energy Information Administration would have to certify that it would not increase electricity rates.

• And the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the president of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation would have to certify that electricity delivery would remain reliable.

McConnell called on Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, to call for the passage of the bill on the Senate floor — or else — he said voters will remember which party stood in the way.

“If the Majority Leader and Senate Democrats stand in the way of passing this bill, Kentuckians and the American people will remember who stood with them and who worked against them. And I imagine they’d want to send a majority to Washington that would actually work for the Middle Class for a change, instead of hurting seniors and shipping jobs overseas,” McConnell said in his speech.

Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign manager Jonathan Hurst struck back at McConnell’s bill in a statement calling the legislation “inadequate.”

“While it is heartening Mitch McConnell turns his eye to coal country every six years to get re-elected, the senior senator’s new bill does not go far enough and is inadequate,” Hurst said. “As Alison outlined in January, we must work to not only rein in the EPA’s overburdensome regulations, but also invest in clean coal technology, support coal and energy research, and keep foreign markets open for coal.”

Meanwhile, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC that is supporting McConnell, is launching a radio spot aimed at tying Grimes to Obama and the new regulations.

“Grimes was a Barack Obama delegate, supporting him even after he declared war on our coal communities,” the ad says.

Grimes’ campaign is also fighting back against the coal regulations with advertisements . The campaign made a six-figure ad buy Monday in newspapers in eastern and western coal producing counties voicing Grimes’ displeasure with the EPA.

The ad features a coal miner holding a piece of coal with copy reading,” President Obama and Washington doesn’t get it… Alison Grimes does.”


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