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.”