WASHINGTON, D.C. —  A group of coal miners and company workers with Alpha Natural Resources sat together in a U.S. Senate committee hearing room Wednesday in Washington, D.C. as senators discussed the federal EPA’s recently released Clean Power rules.

The hearing, titled “Climate Change: The Need to Act Now” was held by the Senate’s subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

“I think we made a little bit of an impact by just being there in support of our industry,” Alpha worker Stan Wonnell of Huntington, one of the 70 on the trip, said.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy introduced the proposed rules earlier this month. She said they will reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants. She said in a tweet Wednesday the rules are not a war on coal.

“Can’t be more clear there is no war on coal. Clean Power Plan is about reducing pollution and fighting for public health,” McCarthy wrote.

Coal supporters have said the technology is not reliable to meet the new requirements and the proposed rule would essential close exiting coal-fired plants.

Wonnell said members of Congress need to see the EPA’s decisions impact real people.

“I definitely think it sends a message and I hope it really does make an impact,” he told MetroNews. “These are the things we need to do. We need to get out there. We need to be in the public view. We need to tell them what our story is.”

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  • Rhonda potter

    Will the government pay my electric bills?...I don't think they will because I work. Will the government pay for my gasoline to get to work? Will the government give food stamps to everyone to cover the man made inflation? No the government will not help the middle class because we work. We are discriminated against and this winter we will have to choose between food or freezing to death. We will have black outs as well.

  • Joshua Smith

    I am a coal miner and proud if it. Why change our way of providing energy for something like nuclear energy. Ask the people in Chernobyl what it's like to not go home for a few thousand years due to nuclear disaster that occurred. Can't criticize burning coal and yet provide an energy source like nuclear with its damaging affects.

  • Courtni

    West virginia and many other states have been impacted by obama and the epa they say there making more jobs well there sure aint none here besides coal thats what puts food on our tables and pays our bills I didnt vote for obama neither time and I sure cant wait to get him out of office I feel sorry for whoever gets in office next because theyre gonna have one big mess to clean up and itll take more than 8 years to do it I just hope whoever gets in office next will stop the epa and all the junk obamas got going on against coal so our families dont have to suffer nomore

  • rick

    What will happen to the EPA if you get the Republican majority and White House...nothing. The EPA can adopt rules for cleaner air...anyone remember the 50's and 60's in this country in the cities. Look at China cities now...they can't breathe for the smoke. TImes change....the whalers and candle makers had to find something else to do after their technology became obsolete.

  • Charlestonian

    I'm still not sure why the EPA is able to create "laws"?? Why is this not being left to congress, the EPA has no lawmaking power.

  • ViennaGuy

    I just shake my head at the EPA's claim that carbon dioxide, which is absolutely necessary for plant life on Earth, is somehow going to kill all of us if it isn't restricted. Ridiculous.

  • Grey4449

    Where is Senator Joe ? Why isn't he fighting Obama with everything he's got. Senator Joe needs to turn Republican and fight King Obama. If Senator Joe doesn't start fighting now not later VOTE HIM OUT. Don't forget The other Joe, Joe Rahall who voted to lower carbon emissions and kill coal miners.

  • knows

    say what u will but we don't have any backup plan or the current means to satisfy current power demand without coal.

  • Bridge Girl

    How is it that when the federal government regulates the coal industry we immediately scream there is a war on coal??

    Why when the Governor vetoed the bill Increasing DMV Increases to fix our broke highway system or when everyone wants to eliminate toll roads; nobody went to our state capitol and screamed we have a WAR ON ROADS.

    Our Governor wants to suggest the EPA has declared a war on coal????

    to fix our Highway Funding Woes and have them spend a Year working on the issue, only to put it on the shelf; kick the can down the road, and allow our State Senators and delegates to work for months on a bill He knew he was going to veto??? this past session???

    I am absolutely against what the EPA is trying to do to our coal industry, Businesses should be allowed to operate and provide services to its customers without the heavy hand of federal regulations.

    But I am so tired of our local elected officials complaining about what the Federal Government hands down on Businesses when in fact our state elected officials refuse to make the difficult decisions that will improve and maintain our roadways in WV

    • gus allen

      i am canning all the electric that i can spare I am gonna need it when the coal generation are shut down

    • Aaron

      I assume you know some of those minds on the Blue Ribbon Commission. If so, you know that the majority has a vested interest in seeing highway construction increase and as such, the sole purpose was hold meetings around the state in order to find a method in which to word a tax increase that would be acceptable to constituents.

      It never occurred to the Governor to simply tell the truth. Our roads and bridges are falling apart and we have no way to pay for them thus an increase in fees in the following areas is required.

      At that point, he fills in the blanks. Personally, I would prefer a 1-2% increase in the sales tax mandated by law to be applied to infrastructure but that's just me.


      Well said Bridge Girl. I salute you for it !!!!

  • EPA Worker

    Elimating coal job is a good thing. Less miners more whiners. That is all they could get 70. What was a huge turn out. LOL. GO OBAMA!!!! Shut them all down.

    • Chris1529

      The rest were at work...not in the government hand out line.

    • Matt T.

      Geez.......No COAL, no jobs, tickles down on everyone.

    • Nobama

      EPA worker? I did not think anyone in the EPA worked since they all support Dipstick, i mean obama.

  • guest

    I agree that the unions and Cecil R. made a big mistake, but the article said that miners from Alpha were represented, they are not union.

  • DWL

    Did they all wear m0r0n masks? Their leaders at the UMWA gave all their due's money to the m0r0n to keep him in office and to have his Gestapo shut them down. How interesting they are now so concerned for their stupidity in following their leader's orders to vote m0r0n. Look who's the m0r0ns now. Keep voting democrat & the RESULTS WILL ALWAYS BE THE SAME.

  • FineinTX

    I feel for these people. It's a horrible time in their lives. It played out before in towns like South Charleston, Nitro and Belle. Marches and prayer vigils to save jobs at FMC, Union Carbide, DuPont, Occidental and Monsanto. In the end 40,000 direct and indirect jobs vanished. The last episode were the jobs at Bayer Crop Science. Those to were lost. After living through that nightmare I can offer one word of advice....save yourself and your family.
    Find out where you can take your skills and start new.

  • Jim

    Eliminating coal as an energy source is exactly what Obama promised to do. Now he's doing it, even if his EPA administrator has to give nuanced explanations for it.

  • RogerD

    Where's Cecil? Wasn't he there to support his miner's?

    • Dennis

      Cecil and his union brothers supported Obama in his first election. Why would he stand against Obama in public now?

    • Bob

      Stay tuned