During recent stops in Pikeville and Hazard, Sen. Mitch McConnell took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s rope-a-dope policy that Kentucky’s senior senator rightly describes as an “illegitimate” and “back-door means” to permanently destroy eastern Kentucky’s economic lifeline, which – like 93 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity – is powered by coal.
McConnell warned miners, operators, owners and suppliers at Whayne Supply in Pikeville that the EPA is “trivializing your livelihood and our economy to pursue their radical agenda.”
It’s time to push back, he said, while announcing legislation that gives the EPA 270 days to either approve or deny applications for permits that deal with potential runoff from proposed mines, and 90 days to begin the approval process for permits that allow clearing of soil in order to reach coal in the ground. It also gives the feds up to a year to assess environmental impacts of proposed mines.
Applications not acted upon by the deadline would be automatically approved.
McConnell acknowledged that while the reasonable, but expedited, permitting process created by his bill might result in some permits being denied, it’s better than remaining in limbo.