Kentucky Coal Industry
Over 94 percent of Kentucky's electricity comes from coal generated power plants. Kentucky is third in the nation in coal production, generating over $3 billion in sales and hundreds of millions in tax revenue. The Kentucky coal industry employs more than 18,000 people.
The "cap and trade" provision will not only devastate the coalfield communities in eastern and western Kentucky, it will destroy large segments of Kentucky's manufacturing base, particularly energy intensive industries like steel and aluminum.
Kentucky currently produces 30 percent of our nation's steel and aluminum. Together, these industries employ thousands of Kentuckians in communities like Ashland, Russellville, Sebree, Hawesville and Lewisport. The energy tax in the "cap and trade" provision will significantly increase the cost of producing steel and aluminum, putting our companies at a severe competitive disadvantage compared to their competitors in other countries.
High-end estimates suggest that cap and trade will cost the average Kentuckian an extra $1000 a year on their utility bills. This increase in cost may come to Kentuckians when they are already boiling over with the consequences of a weak economy and are least able to condone an attack on the Coal industry, the state's backbone.
While a cap and trade battle in Congress may or may not materialize, the EPA has reported that they may consider going around Congress via regulatory statute in the Clean Air Act.
October 2010-Kentucky Files Suit Against Environmental Protection Agency
On October 6, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked 11 water discharge permits in eastern Kentucky claiming the permits did not do enough to prevent water pollution. The EPA's action laid the groundwork for federal involvement in Kentucky's issuance of water permits and was the most intrusive act by this federal agency in Kentucky in 20 years. On October 18, 2010, the Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) and the state government filed suit against the EPA in a federal court in Pikeville.
Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett cited the EPA's encroachment on the state's coal industry as necessary cause for the suit. Governor Beshear echoed this sentiment and stated that past attempts to find common ground with the EPA had failed. Beshear said, "The EPA's recent arbitrary and unreasonable actions could well have a devastating impact to Kentucky's economy."
View the complaint here
- Bluegrass Policy Blog: Beshear joins coal industry to fight EPA
- Cap and Trade
- Kentucky Climate Action Panel
- Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security
- Friends of Coal, KY