Miners to march on EPA against climate rule

Hundreds of current and retired miners and their families are set to march through Washington on Tuesday to protest the administration's signature climate rule on power plants.

The past and present members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) will hold a rally and march to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in D.C.


They declare the rule proposed by the EPA on carbon pollution from existing power plants will result in the loss of "tens of thousands" of coal mining jobs.

"The EPA has paid absolutely no attention to the devastation that will occur in coalfield communities as a result of this plan,” said Cecil Roberts, president of UMWA International.

“We estimate that more than 65,000 men and women who work in the coal, utility and railroad industries will lose their jobs as a result of this rule."

The EPA's proposal is expected to cut carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels and help prevent asthma and respiratory problems across the country.

But the UMWA says the EPA is ignoring the impact the rules will have on miners' families.

“Since EPA hasn’t yet summoned the courage to come to the coalfields and explain to the citizens there what they are doing, our members and their families are coming to D.C. to make their voices heard," Roberts said.

The EPA is currently taking comments from the public on the rule and says every concern is weighed equally.

EPA chief Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group Overnight Energy: Automakers group sides with Trump in emissions lawsuit | Latest on California wildfires | Walden won't seek reelection | Park Service scraps plan to charge protesters for security MORE has said that if states want to invest in their coal plants they can and won't have to shut them down to meet reduction targets set by the rule.

Liz Purchia, an EPA spokeswoman said in an email that in 2030, coal will still represent a third of the nations’ energy mix.

"Retirements are expected because of ongoing economics—regardless of this plan, largely as a result of aging equipment and market forces, including greater energy efficiency and cheap natural gas," Purchia said.

Purchia added that the administration is utilizing federal resources to assist workers and communities "hit hardest by the transition in the electricity sector" to train and find jobs for people.

The coal industry remains unconvinced, and a number of states have joined a lawsuit against the administration's carbon pollution rule, which is a key pillar of President Obama's climate change legacy.