PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Pittsburgh is the host site for one of four public hearings this week from the federal Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed Clean Power Act and, because of that, it’s also becoming a rally destination.

A list of rally events are being held for both supporters and opponents of the possible new carbon emissions limits for existing coal-fired power plants — the focus of the EPA’s hearing on Thursday and Friday.

Photo courtesy The Media Center

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, left, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett both spoke at Wednesday’s rally.

“What we’re doing today is essential to the well-being of our country and our state,” Roger Horton, founder of Citizens for Coal, said en route to Pittsburgh Wednesday for the Rally to Support American Energy at Highmark Stadium.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey were among the speakers at that event.

Horton made the trip to Pittsburgh from Southern West Virginia with hundreds of other coal miners and their supporters to speak out against the EPA proposal that aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants that are already in operation by an average of 30 percent from 2005 levels before 2030.

“I think their minds are made up. They want to shove this down our throat,” Horton said of the possible new regulations on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“For that reason, we’re going to make our voices heard as loudly as we possibly can and, if anyone wants to disagree, that’s fine. But the vast majority of the people who live in the area that I live in, who work in the coalfields, feel the same way I do.”

Wednesday’s rally was the first of several planned rallies tied to the two-day public hearing on the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Act that was scheduled to begin Thursday morning at the William S. Moorhead Federal Building on Liberty Ave. in Pittsburgh. That hearing will continue into Friday.

On Thursday, as many as 5,000 members of the United Mine Workers of America and their families were expected to rally in Pittsburgh in opposition to the proposed regulations.

“What we need here is a conversation about this and Congress having a role to play here,” Cecil Roberts, UMWA president said. “This is not the democracy that people went to two World Wars, fought in Vietnam, fought in Korea (for). This is not the democracy that we thought we had.”

The UMWA rally begins at 11 a.m. Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Roberts will speak at that event along with Edwin Hill, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Dan Kane, international secretary-treasurer for the UMWA and Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny County Central Labor Council.

At 12 p.m., those part of the UMWA rally will march to the William S. Moorhead Federal Building where the EPA public hearing is being held.

A counter-rally from environmental groups is also planned on Thursday at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was scheduled to attend that event.

Public hearings have already been held this week in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C. In all, the EPA was expecting 1,600 people total to speak in the four cities.

Up to now, more than 300,000 written comments have been submitted on the Clean Power Act. The public comment period continues through Oct. 16.

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  • Mike

    Hey, Cecil; how's that unrelenting UMWA support you gave to the POTUS working out for you? Quick - bring in Tennant so she can turn out the lights. Hypocrisy at its finest.

  • DP

    Natalie Tennant, Nick Rahall, Cecil Roberts-ALL 3 HAD to have seen the writing on the wall with this POTUS and his intentions relative to coal. But obviously, NONE of the 3 chose to read the writing on the wall!!! And now, they have the gonads to try EVERYTHING to distance themselves from the Bystander/Fund Raiser in Chief! What a bunch of Frigging Hypocrites!!!!!

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Would have like to seen a wider photo shot to get a real understanding of the turnout.

    Were there more participants than attendees?

    Just askin'...........

  • WV4ever

    Unfortunately, the majority of voters in coal-less states and semi-coal states do not care about jobs in the coal industry. They have bought the clean air/global warming message. Obama, you can call him any name you want, is now in his second term as President and has never changed his position on the issue. It appears the war on coal has been over since Obama was re-elected. I can't understand why the EPA is doing these meeting as nothing will change from it.

  • PMQ

    In January 2008, when Barack Obama was trying to put some distance between himself and other Democrats seeking the party's nomination, he touted his green policies. In particular, he talked about his intentions to put regulations in place that would shut down coal plants around the country.
    Speaking in San Francisco, candidate Obama said: "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them."
    Enter 2012, and a record number of coal-fired generators are set to be shut down. As the Daily Caller reported, because of the "stiff federal environmental regulations" the Obama administration has put in place, 175 generators are scheduled to be phased out. That represents "8.5 percent of the total coal-fired capacity in the United States."
    Of these 175 generators, 57 are scheduled to be taken offline in 2012.
    In other words, the "cost of compliance" with Obama-era regulations is simply too high, thus coal-fired plant owners find themselves right where Obama said they would were he elected. Now they can either shut the generators down or keep them online and inch ever closer to bankruptcy.
    How's that for "hope and change"?

  • Tyrone

    Just find a way to burn it cleaner and there wont be any coal jobs lost . It is that simple ,.

    • PMQ

      It is NOT that simple....O-Bum-A is NOT interested in clean coal, or any coal for that matter. Although coal provided 45-55% of the nations electricity. What will replace that?? Wind, Solar??? Hardly, you need to wake up.

      • Mitch

        @ PMQ,

        "What will replace that"? Why, you should know that liberals always have sound, well thought out new policies to replace the old ones.
        We will be replacing it with unicorn farts, of course.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Iowans have awakened. They are putting 448 wind turbines to good use.

        • Aaron

          Good for Iowans, utilizing the natural resources they have available. There are some wind mills in West Virginia in the few spots that have enough wind to sustain them, at least part of the time.

          Our problem is West Virginia is not suitable for wind energy because we just do not have enough class 4 an above wind currents thus when the wind is not at levels to turn the turbines, a backup source is required to keep them moving.

          Care to guess where that backup source comes from?

          • Mason County Contrarian

            To my point: I was not claiming that our state should invest in windmills-we obviously don't have the best topography. I was merely seeking to point out that while we mire ourselves in fossil fuel politics, other parts of the nation continue to look ahead and move forward.

            And yet, we continue to put the onus of blame on others.

            Who will be left to blame when this same push for cleaner air continues under a Republican administration (if elected) in 2016? We're running out of groups upon which we can christen "enemies" in this fabled "war on coal".

      • Tyrone

        Wrong it is that simple if you want to use coal you better make it cleaner for the environment. Because if you don't then all the coal jobs will be lost. It is that simple.

        • dwh

          Or we can simply export our coal to China we know they will burn it cleanly.

        • PMQ

          Tyrone....You do know that coal supports about 45-55% of the nations electricity. How do you think you power your electronic gadgets in your Mom's basement, and have light to see the Cheetos you are eating?

          • Aaron

            Actually if you read the EPA director's statements last week, she said that coal would remain constant in providing about 30% of our nations electrical generation over the next half century. The only thing that's going to change is the cost to utilize said coal.

          • Tyrone

            hey i know all of what you are saying is true did i ever say it was not true (no) .. I am telling you you are preaching to the choir here all the protesting ranting and all the talks are not going to do any good .. like i said it is a snowball going down a hill it is not going to stop Obama and his cronies from ending coal fired power plants . If you don't see this then you better get out of your mothers basement and see the light

        • PMQ

          You are delusional! Educate yourself please, you are drinking the O-Bum-A Kool Aide.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            Why do we choose name-calling as a last resort?

            Civility has left our public political discourse.

          • Tyrone

            What ever you say then ..I do know this the coal jobs are going to a part of the past . There is a war on coal . It is dirty all the way around and it wont be long till coal will be a part of the past . I do know that and there isnt anything that can be done It is like a snowball going down a mountain and it is picking up speed ..

  • PMQ

    “What we need here is a conversation about this and Congress having a role to play here,” Cecil Roberts, UMWA president said. “This is not the democracy that people went to two World Wars, fought in Vietnam, fought in Korea (for). This is not the democracy that we thought we had.”

    This statement would be FUNNY if it was not so SAD. Cecil, you supported this idiot, you made the bed you can lay in. Not sure when the Miners will wake up, BUT this guy(Roberts) is not in your best interest. O-Bum-A, clearly told all in 2007-2008 what he would do to coal. Why are you surprised now? You need to make CORRECT choices BEFORE elections, NOT AFTER. i.e. Natalie Tennant now, do NOT vote for her.

    • fed up

      exactly!! Cecil Robertson supported President Obama even when he said he would bankrupt the coal industry, and now when it is starting to come true, all of these politicians, union leaders, and Democrats act like they never knew...sad... fool me once, shame on me..fool me twice, shame on the voters....

  • Worm

    That's the problem the rest of country is not concerned with job losses. It doesn't show up on their door step. I'm sure Mr. Horton has not been in Detroit trying to save US auto jobs? My point is, unless the rest of the country rallies around the cause it becomes an impossible task to stop this change.