Rep. John Blanton testifies before EPA to end Obama-era regulation on coal industry

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (November 28, 2017) – Rep. John Blanton, the representative from Salyersville, testified today before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of a total repeal of the Obama-Era’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which proved disastrous to coal country in Eastern Kentucky, and around the region. 

“My district is in the heart of Kentucky’s coal country in Eastern Kentucky,” testified Blanton. “For far too long, this country has been victim to the policies that limit our growth by overregulation. Policies put into motion by the Obama Administration, like the CPP, would have provided no meaningful impact on the planet’s climate, but would have had a devastating impact on the U.S. economy.”  

The hearing, which spans two days in Charleston, W.V., is widely seen as encouraging to coal workers. For years, the EPA criticized the Obama Administration for never holding a hearing in West Virginia, and as a result denying coal workers and interested parties in a major coal region that spans into Kentucky, the chance to comment in person. 

“I commend the recent announcement by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on his intention to repeal the CPP,” added Blanton. “The proper role of the EPA under the Clean Air Act is to regulate air admissions and not to dictate to states how they should produce electricity. Here in Kentucky, we know that affordable and reliable electricity that fuels economic growth comes from coal. Government should not pick winners and losers, and coal and other fuels should be able to compete on a level playing field.” 

In 2015, the EPA finalized the CPP, which sought to reduce emissions from power plants to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, but the plan never took effect. The Supreme Court stalled it after energy-producing states sued the EPA, saying it went beyond its legal reach.

“It’s time Kentucky is able to put the liability of the CPP behind it, and instead focus on providing reliable power, growing the economy, and giving our citizens the best chance to achieve upward mobility,” said Blanton, in his closing remarks.