Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R) had choice worlds for the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on power plant emissions Monday, moving beyond the usual “war on coal” language and likening the proposed regulations to an act of terrorism.
Kelly delivered his remarks at an event at the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that opposes the new rule.
“You talk about terrorism — you can do it in a lot of different ways,” he said. “But you terrorize the people who supply everything this country needs to be great — and you keep them on the sidelines — my goodness, what have we become?”
When asked to clarify what he meant by that, Kelly said he used the word “terrorism” broadly, E&E News reports.
“When a government can level on you taxes and regulations that makes it impossible for you to compete, then you’re going to stay on the sidelines,” he said.
Opponents of the rules should continue fighting them, Kelly said, because if critics give up, the EPA has “effectively won.”
Kelly is the author of the Coal Country Protection Act, legislation which would halt the EPA’s new carbon rule and any regulation that aims to limit carbon from power plants until various criteria are met, including certification from the Secretary of Labor that the regulation won’t cause job losses.
“The Coal Country Protection Act will defend hardworking Americans from the EPA’s extreme overreach by stopping unfair, job-killing regulations in their tracks,” Kelly said in a statement. “The ideological ambitions of a few in Washington must never be allowed to force economic pain on families across our country.”
In the same statement, Kelly referred to coal as a “sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy source,” and calls the EPA’s new rule a “harsh new energy tax.”
Like Kelly, many lawmakers from coal-heavy states have blasted the EPA’s new rule, saying it will harm the coal industry and put miners out of work. Some, however, stood up for the rule in the weeks after it was announced, despite their states’ sizable coal industries.
“From floods to fires to beetle-killed trees, we know the consequences of the changing climate,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said in response to the rule. “State-based solutions that limit the effects of climate change will keep these industries and our economy strong. This responsible proposal gives states flexibility to balance the needs of today with the demands of tomorrow.”
The EPA is currently gearing up for public hearings on the rule, which start Tuesday in Atlanta.