Andy Barr: Call for health study ignores over-regulation

May 20, 2013 

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

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  • At issue: April 25 Herald-Leader editorial, "Setbacks for coal industry; rulings for EPA, new health studies"

The April 25 editorial reflects this newspaper's one-sided perspective regarding one of our commonwealth's vital industries.

Ironically, the editorial's most shocking assertion is not its suggestion that Kentucky coal is no longer competitive with natural gas (though I must note that ignoring the impact of government over-regulation in decreasing the supply of and demand for coal requires an extraordinary degree of willful blindness).

It's not the editorial's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that the Obama administration's war on coal has helped cause the loss of more than 4,000 Kentucky coal mining jobs.

It's not even the editorial board's indifference toward the additional jobs lost in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District in industries heavily dependent on the coal industry.

No, The Herald-Leader's most outrageous suggestion is that Congress should heap yet another tax on Kentucky's coal industry and use the revenue to fund a federal study.

Even if one dismisses the job-killing impact of additional taxes, how can anyone propose new revenue and not suggest that it go first to help miners and other workers who have lost their jobs?

Where is this newspaper's compassion for these hard-working Kentuckians and their families? They remain the forgotten victims of the Obama administration's preference for ideology over people.

I remain firmly convinced that the best way to help the miners who have lost their jobs is to end the war on coal, oppose new taxes and put Kentuckians back to work. That's why I am an original cosponsor of the Coal Jobs Protection Act that will keep the Environmental Protection Agency from negatively impacting coal-mining jobs.

This legislation, in fact, does the opposite; it increases coal-mining jobs through providing more certainty in the mine-permitting process.

I believe we can at least agree that the needs of miners and their families are more important than funding federal bureaucrats to conduct a study.


At issue: April 25 Herald-Leader editorial, "Setbacks for coal industry; rulings for EPA, new health studies"

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr represents Kentucky's 6th District.

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