Sen. Paul calls on Clinton to apologize for coal comments

03/18/2016 10:07 AM

UPDATED: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is seeking an apology from Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton for comments she made at a recent town hall saying she would put coal companies out of business.

During a CNN town hall on Sunday, Clinton said she wanted to use clean renewable energy as the key to economic prosperity in coal country. The statement that’s got Clinton in hot water is her prediction for decimation of the coal industry.

“We’re gonna put a lot of coal a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said. “We’re going to make it clear we don’t want to forget those people.”

“Those people labored in those mines for generations losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories,” Clinton said. “Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

Paul responded to Clinton’s energy policy in a video first released on Thursday.

“I think this brazen comment — this casual disregard for hardworking Kentucky coal miners — for them losing their jobs because of Hillary Clinton’s policies…I think she should apologize,” Paul said. “She should apologize to every Kentucky worker that’s lost their job in recent times because of her policies.”

“I’m calling today for Hillary Clinton to apologize for all of Kentucky for these outrageous comments,” Paul continued.

Earlier this week Kentucky Democrats Pure Politics spoke with expressed disappointment with Clinton’s statements and maintained the video will not hurt their electoral chances this fall.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s campaign for U.S. Senate also weighed in on the video in a statement sent to Pure Politics, calling Clinton’s words “wrong.”

“Hillary Clinton’s words were wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that Sen. Paul has been so distracted by his presidential ambitions that he’s failed to do his job for Kentucky,” Gray’s Communications Director Cathy Lindsey said. “While people were hurting, he was playing politics in Iowa.

“What did he do for our coal counties while he was out on the presidential campaign trail? He opposed Congressman Hal Rogers’ efforts to reclaim abandoned mines and create local jobs in eastern Kentucky,” Lindsey continued. “After more than five years of Sen. Paul failing to do his job, Kentucky needs a senator who knows what it takes to create jobs and improve the economy of every region in our state.”

Coal has been on the decline in Kentucky and across the nation for years as it’s been edged out by cheaper natural gas and environmental regulations.

Clinton’s full plan to “revitalize coal communities” is available here.

Meanwhile, President Obama announced $65.8 million available for economic and workforce development in coal-impacted communities.

The funding comes from the Obama Administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to develop new strategies for economic growth and worker advancement for communities that have historically relied on the coal economy for economic stability, according to a press release from the White House.

The White House said funds are available for a range of activities, including:

• Developing projects that diversify local and regional economies, create jobs in new and/or existing industries, attract new sources of job-creating investment and provide a range of workforce services and skills training;
• Building partnerships to attract and invest in the economic future of coal-impacted communities;
• Increasing capacity and other technical assistance fostering long term economic growth and opportunity

“Many communities across Appalachia – from coal mines to Main Streets – are being impacted as the world changes the way it produces and consumes electricity,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl in a press release. “The POWER Initiative can be a game-changer for Appalachia by partnering with these communities and investing Federal resources to support local initiatives that will forge sustainable economic paths for the future.”


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