The coal-based electricity industry supports 760,000 jobs in the U.S. and enacting a new energy policy that puts these jobs at risk could have harmful and lasting consequences for our economy and our families.
It would be easy to see this as a partisan issue, to assume that Republicans are lining up to oppose the administration’s efforts and Democrats are standing behind the plan, but that’s not the case.
Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller(D-WV) expressed his concerns about possible regulations:
“I’m deeply concerned that, in it’s current form, there’s not enough emphasis in the President’s plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation.” (Sen. Jay Rockefeller, “Rockefeller Releases Statement On President’s Climate Change Speech,” Press Release, 6/25/13)
Sen. Rockefeller isn’t the only leader concerned that a misguided plan could be damaging to the coal workers who power our economy.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) also pointed out the potential impact regulations could have on our communities:
“We must reduce our carbon usage wisely through regulations that properly phase in new requirements over time and don’t unduly impact communities that rely on coal production.” (Sen. Tim Kaine, “Kaine Statement on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan”, Press Release, 6/25/13)
The wrong policies could have serious impact on American jobs. Risking the 760,000 coal jobs isn’t something we take lightly. As Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said:
“It is just so irresponsible. We’re looking for an all-in energy policy that basically secures our nation, makes us less dependent on foreign oil or foreign energy. And we can do that, but we’ve got to use everything we have, in balance with the environment and economy. That’s all we ever said. … They’re declaring war truly on jobs, on American jobs.” (Fox News’ ” Special Report,” 6/25/13)
We need an all-in approach, we need to keep energy reliable and affordable, and we need to protect the jobs of hardworking Americans.