If there is a “war on coal,” as Mitt Romney and his corporate coal operator backers have trumpeted throughout coal country, especially in the vital swing state of Ohio, the man behind that war is Mitt Romney himself, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a telephone press conference Monday.
Today, Romney says he will be a “coal” president. But he is actually anti-coal. It wasn’t too long ago that he stood in front of a coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts and said, “Coal kills people. Shut this down.” Now, he goes into the field and says there is a war on coal….Mitt Romney is a political chameleon who will say anything he thinks people want to hear.
Romney claims the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) enforcement of regulations controlling greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants is a centerpiece of the so-called war on coal. But Trumka explained those rules are a result of Massachusetts—under the Romney administration—suing to force the EPA to enforce strong emission standards.
President Obama, said Trumka, “stands head and shoulders above Romney when it comes to coal miners and their futures.”
He [President Obama] has appointed people who are enforcing safety laws, these are the real regulations coal operators don’t want enforced….MSHA [Mine Safety and Health Administration] is enforcing the laws and now coal operators are not able to get away with violations like they did before, especially high violators.
Trumka also noted that Obama has said repeatedly the future of energy production must come from all sources of energy, including coal. The Obama administration has invested $5 billion in clean coal technology. In fact, coal production has increased by 7% under Obama.
Trumka said the Romney campaign’s recent TV ad slamming Obama’s rescue of the auto industry can only be interpreted as “a sign of desperation…full of lies and misstatements.”
In the telephone conference, Trumka said:
Mitt Romney says coal country is his country. Well, he's wrong—it's ours....Mitt Romney doesn't know about getting his hands dirty, and he sure doesn't know anything about coal mining.
Read Trumka's Herald-Star guest column, "Mitt Romney Is All Wrong About Coal Industry."