Mitch McConnell trying to end "war on coal"

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 8:45am


What happened?
Mitch McConnell, a Republican senator from Kentucky, is trying to block President Obama's climate change rules.
McConnell sent a letter to every governor in the United States.
"The President is allowing the EPA to control each state's energy policy." -- McConnell
"I will do everything in my power to battle Obama's 'war on coal'". -- McConnell
McConnell told states to resist the rules.
He even gave them advice on how to fight the rules.
Why is this unusual?
McConnell is a senator. It is unusual for a senator to try to influence governors in other states.
It is also unusual for a senator to encourage states to resist federal rules.
"McConnell's actions are nearly unprecedented." -- Frank Benenati, White House Spokesman
What is the "War on Coal"?
What is the "War on Coal"?
The federal Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is responsible for regulating pollution.
In 2009, the EPA decided that carbon dioxide is one of the causes of the greenhouse effect and climate change.
The EPA decided that carbon dioxide is pollution.
The biggest source of carbon dioxide is coal. Burning coal creates a lot of carbon dioxide.
So, the EPA told every state to find a way to decrease the carbon dioxide from power plants that burn coal.
Some states might use more solar power or wind power.
Other states might find ways to make their coal power plants generate less carbon dioxide.
But these changes might cost money.
These new rules are what Republicans call the "war on coal".
What does McConnell say?
"The E.P.A. is bypassing Congress and the American people with these crippling rules." -- McConnell
"These rules would wreak havoc on our economy" -- McConnell
"I have used and will continue to use all of the tools available to protect families and jobs, whether that be in Congress, or outside of the legislative process."
-- McConnell
Who is McConnell?
McConnell is a Republican senator. He is from Kentucky.
Kentucky produces a lot of coal.
Peabody Energy is the biggest coal producer in the country. They also donate a lot of money to McConnell.
McConnell won't say whether he believes in climate change.
"I'm not a scientist. I am interested in protecting Kentucky's economy. I am interested in low cost electricity."
-- McConnell
"For everybody who thinks the planet is getting warmer, I can find somebody who thinks it isn't."
-- McConnell
What does Obama say?
"Instead of offering solutions, McConnell’s alternative is an inappropriate and unfounded attempt to dictate state decisions,"
-- Frank Benenati, White House Spokesman
"The EPA is following the law. It is proposing clean-air standards for the largest source of carbon pollution: the power sector."
-- Benenati
"Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges that we face." -- Benenati