Out of Touch at the EPA

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 10:55 am, February 12, 2014

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “out of touch.”

Yesterday, speaking to a group of labor advocates, McCarthy predicted that this administration’s environmental regulations on new power plants and the forthcoming regulations for existing plants will create new opportunities for employment.

As she was making her statement, however, Gallup published its Economic Confidence Rankings, which shows major coal states are gravely concerned about their economic future.

The Gallup index, which ranks the 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on their views of  “current U.S. economic conditions and their perceptions of the economy’s direction,” listed West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky as three of the four least economically confident states.

These major coal producing states view the EPA’s efforts to regulate coal out of our energy mix as a major threat to their local economies, and with good reason.

“Kentucky and West Virginia, because of the nature of our economies, are going to be hit the hardest,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.

Bissett went on to note that the opposition to these new regulations in coal producing states isn’t a partisan issue: “Where we’ve lost more than seven thousand direct coal mining jobs… is in our eastern Kentucky coal fields, which is a heavily Democratic area.”

Bissett’s comments stand in strong contrast to the EPA’s McCarthy who has been emphasizing the high level of stakeholder involvement in the lead up to the existing power plant rule.

We’re not sure what McCarthy considers to be a high level of stakeholder involvement or who she thinks important stakeholders are. Clearly, however, they are not the coal communities and families that will be most impacted by EPA’s NSPS regulations as she didn’t even bother to visit them during EPA’s so-called listening tour.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell captured the reality of these regulations perfectly:

“The real tragedy here is that those claiming to be fighting for the poor are not only making things worse in places like Eastern Kentucky, they’re deliberately ignoring the voices of those who live outside their comfortable Beltway cocoon.”


Leave a Reply