Appalachian Miners Decry What They Call Obama’s ‘War on Coal’
From LA Times
By Neela Banerjee
When President Obama laid out ambitious plans in June for combating climate change, coal miners like Roger Horton heard what they considered the latest fusillade in the administration’s “war on coal.”
Until his retirement two weeks ago, Horton, 59, worked underground for decades in southern West Virginia’s Logan County, then operated a 200-ton earth-moving truck to remove debris from blasted mountaintops.
A milestone in Obama’s initiative will come this week, when the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue rules limiting emissions from new power plants. Next June, the EPA is to propose standards for existing plants.
Miners, industry and coal-state politicians warn that, depending on how the rules are crafted, they could slash utilities’ coal consumption and, with it, jobs and tax revenue in mining states.
“There are lots of reasons to use coal,” Horton said, sitting in the empty lobby of a conference center built on a flattened mountain. “And if they would just let us have the permits to mine, we wouldn’t have enough people in the area for all the jobs available.”
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