(CNSNews.com) – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds public meetings this week on its latest round of proposed regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s fossil-fuel-fired power plants, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said President Barack Obama should trade a trip to the golf course for a visit with coal miners across America who are losing their jobs.
“I’ve got an invitation here. This is a letter I sent to the president of the United States,” Kelly said on Wednesday at a press conference outside of the Capitol. “And this is an invitation for him to come to the coal nation.
“I want him to get off of the back nine and come into the mines,” Kelly said. “I want to get his golf cap off and get his hard hat on.”
On June 2, the EPA announced its Clean Power Plan “to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.”
"Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in the press release announcing the plan. “EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source – power plants.
"By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids,” McCarthy said.
On Monday, EPA announced a series of public meetings on the proposed rule, with the comment period before it becomes finalized ending on Oct. 16.
The executive summary of the rule states: “This rule, as proposed, would continue progress already underway to lower the carbon intensity of power generation in the United States (U.S.). Lower carbon intensity means fewer emissions of CO 2, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. This proposal is a significant step forward in the EPA and states partnering to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the U.S.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opened the Wednesday’s press conference by saying the EPA’s rules have already hurt people in his state.
“In Eastern Kentucky we’ve lost 7,000 coal mining jobs during the Obama years,” McConnell said. “It hasn’t always been that way – we actually gained over 3,000 during the Bush years.”
Then McConnell introduced Jimmy Rose, a finalist on season eight of the television series “America’s Got Talent,” who sang his hit song “Coal Keeps the Lights On.”
“They went plumb down crazy in Washington.
They're talking about closing the mines.
They're gonna bleed us all dry from the inside out.
They don't care that much about the little man or the calloused hands.
It's a way of life 'round, just like it's always been.
Coal keeps the lights on.
My hometown keeps food on the spoon in my youngin's mouth.
Tires on the truck and a sundress on my baby girl.
Coal keeps the bills paid, the clothes on the backs,
and shoes on the feet in the high school halls of the Mountain Lions
and the Bill County Bobcats on the hill.”
Rose, who is also a military veteran, got a rousing response to his song from both lawmakers and others at the press conference.
Then Kelly echoed Rose’s sentiments in his song by saying that coal is vital not only to coal miners and their families, but the U.S. economy.
“This is coal’s day in court,” Kelly said. “This is our chance to stand up and say what we believe in, what we know is right and what we know is true.
“And we know what is truly American about this,” Kelly said. “The workhorse of this nation’s economy has always been coal.”
Both McConnell and another Kentucky lawmaker - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) – spoke at the press conference about the EPA’s unilateral actions on U.S. energy policy.
McConnell said even if coal production is increasing at rapid rates and without regulation in places like China and India, the United States is suffering under EPA rules.
“And yet here we are in our native country suffering from the policies of this administration and this EPA that’s out of control – as the federal courts have said – and leaving our people in desperate straits,” McConnell said. “It’s time for that to stop.”
Paul said Obama needs “to understand that in our country the legislature passes laws.
“The greenhouse law or regulation won’t pass Congress so he’s going around Congress,” Paul said.
“I say to the president, Come to our state and see the despair,” he added. “But also read the Constitution – this isn’t the way that it should be.”