By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Generations of Alabamians earned a living digging the coal that powered America’s industrial revolution. The coal was used to make steel, power factories, and burned by power plants to make electricity for our homes. Strenuous new regulations on American industry by President Barack H. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has forced power plants and other industries to look for other sources of energy or close down. This has led to a precipitous loss of coal jobs.
On Wednesday, June 22 US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) questioned EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about her extreme environmental policies and the rules she and the administration have made.
Congressman Palmer wrote; “This week I showed EPA Administrator McCarthy a video showing the struggles of our coal miners as EPA regulations continue to force them out of work. The EPA should do what I have done take an opportunity to meet these coal miners and hear their stories about how regulations have impacted their lives and livelihood.”
Rep. Palmer continued, “The EPA would learn that these are real people with families, not statistics that don’t matter. But what do statistics show? According to the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, they show that because of rising energy costs, 37 percent of vulnerable, low-income households went without medical or dental care, 34 percent did not fill a prescription or took less than their full dose of prescribed medication, 24 percent went without food at least once a day and 19 percent became sick because their home was too cold. The EPA may view these coal miners and their families as collateral damage in the pursuit of their agenda, but we cannot sit back and accept this. We must stand up for the victims of the EPA’s overreaching and scientifically questionable policies.”
Palmer addressed McCarthy. “Administrator McCarthy, if you don’t remember anything else out of this hearing today, I want you to remember the faces and the voices of the people who’ve had their lives absolutely destroyed by the EPA’s policies.”
The three minute tape showed coal miners and their families lamenting the loss of their coal mining jobs. “This country was built on hard work and people doing things.” “I had planned to work at this job until I retired.” We have not had a pay check since August.”
Palmer says that the EPA is using overregulation not based on sound silence to transition away from coal.
Congressman Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.