By Erica Kearns

During Wednesday’s County Commission meeting, the Commissioners approved a motion to send the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a resolution regarding the proposed Clean Power Plan. The resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, America’s coal miners have worked for decades to provide the means to energize our nation; and

WHEREAS, doing so has cost the lives of more than 100,000 miners who have been killed in the mines over the last 100 years, and another 100,000 who have died from contracting occupational diseases; and

WHEREAS, tens of thousands of retired miners, their dependents and surviving spouses depend on the pensions and health care earned through decades of hard, dangerous work; and

WHEREAS, thousands more miners are at work every day in our nation’s coal mines to provide a decent standard of living for their families and are the economic drivers of their local economies; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a “Clean Power Plan” (CCP) rule with the stated intention of reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change; and

WHEREAS, the CCP rule will lead to the closure of coal-burning plants throughout the United States, resulting in the loss of more than 52,000 jobs in the coal, utility and railroad industries by 2020; and

WHEREAS, further direct job losses in those industries will reach 65,000 by 2030 as a result of this rule; and

WHEREAS, the job losses will have a ripple effect in the communities throughout the coalfields and beyond, where more than 208,000 jobs will be lost by 2030; and

WHEREAS, the retirement security for retirees, spouses and widows will be put at significant risk as a result of this proposed rule; and

WHEREAS, independent analysis indicates that there will be approximately a one percent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the CPP rule, meaning that it will have little effect toward meeting its stated goal; and

WHEREAS, the EPA has not seen fit to hold public hearings on this rule in coalfield communities, but has instead held them in cities that aren’t near coal mines or coal workers; and

WHEREAS, the people who will be most adversely affected by this rule are being shut out of the process, with no vote, no voice and no consideration being paid to what will happen to them and their communities: now,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Clay County Commission does hereby call on U.S. EPA to schedule public hearings in the coalfields; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Clay County Commission does hereby call on U.S. EPA to either withdraw the proposed rule or revise it to eliminate the economic shocks that will occur to critical coalfield communities throughout the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Clay County Commission will send copies of this resolution to the United Mine Workers of America and to our federal elected officials.

Dated and signed on August 12, 2014 the County Commission is requesting the EPA listen to the voices of communities such as ours before they pass such drastic laws that will effect thousands of coal field workers like the ones who live and work in our county. The Clean Power Plan is open for public comment through October.