Senator McConnell Condemns Comments Made by EPA Official

Senior EPA official said they didn’t hold public hearings in coal country because visiting would have made them uncomfortable

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement today responding to a senior EPA official who acknowledged that the agency declined to hold public listening sessions on proposed anti-coal regulations in places like Kentucky and West Virginia because visiting the heart of coal country would have made them uncomfortable. Janet McCabe, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for its Office of Air and Radiation, said in response to a question by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) at a congressional hearing that that EPA chose locations for public listening sessions on its proposed carbon dioxide emissions rules for power plants based on “where people were comfortable coming.”

“On several occasions over the past two years, I urged the EPA to come to Kentucky to speak directly to those most impacted by its anti-coal regulations and to get a first-hand view of the effects of the War on Coal. The EPA repeatedly denied our requests,” Senator McConnell said. “We knew this administration had no interest in visiting coal country, and now we know why – because it makes them uncomfortable to look Kentucky coal miners and their families in the eye and tell them what they plan to do to their communities. As this administration continues to take steps to destroy the coal industry and the livelihoods of thousands of Kentuckians, I will continue the fight against these job-destroying regulations and make sure the Administration is forced to face the reality of what they’re doing to those in coal country.”

Background: EPA held listening sessions across the country to gauge public sentiment on its proposed anti-coal regulations. Notably, the agency refused to hold any of its hearings in two states that would most adversely be affected by its proposed regulations--Kentucky and West Virginia—holding listening sessions on proposed anti-coal regulations in cities like New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco instead. Because of the EPA’s repeated refusals to visit coal country, Sen. McConnell held his own listening session at the University of Pikeville on December 6, 2013. He also attended two of the EPA’s Washington D.C. sessions in both 2013 and 2014.

Related Issues: Coal, EPA, Jobs, Middle Class, Economy