McConnell: Comparing climate skeptics to slaveholders a ‘depressing new low’

McConnell: Comparing climate skeptics to slaveholders a ‘depressing new low’
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeking challenger to McConnell as Senate GOP leader: report Budget chairman: Debt ceiling fight 'a ridiculous position to be in' Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Kentucky) on Monday described an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader equating those opposed to climate protections to slaveholders as a “depressing new low.”

In an editorial last week, the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote that McConnell and others opposed to stricter environmental rules “will be regarded one day in the same way we think of 19th-century apologists for human slavery.” 

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“How could economic interests bind them to the immortality of their position?” the paper asked then. The editorial said McConnell should listen to public opinion and drop his opposition to President Obama's greenhouse gas reduction plans.

“The Earth cannot spur us to action by firing the first shot like the rebels at Fort Sumter. But the frequency and intensity of extreme weather — and the suffering it inflicts — have put us on notice,” the editorial said. “Political donors might reward elected leaders, but future generations will never forgive those whose vision ends with the next election.”

In a Monday op-ed in the paper, McConnell said the editorial was resorting to “tone-deaf attacks” and “ratcheting up the rhetoric because the law and facts are so clearly against them.”

“Drawing a moral equivalence between America's original sin of slavery and the fight for Kentucky coal reveals a profound lack of moral seriousness — not to mention a troubling indifference to an industry that keeps this commonwealth and this country running,” he wrote. 

McConnell is a leading critic of the Obama administration's plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and its efforts to reach an international accord on climate change.

He's no stranger to making news on the Herald-Leader's op-ed page. In March, McConnell wrote an open letter in the paper encouraging states to opt out of writing their own emission reduction strategies under Obama's Clean Power Plan. At the time he called it “probably illegal” and “unfair” because it could lead to higher energy costs and fewer jobs in coal industries like Kentucky's. 

“The EPA's new climate rule is a disaster, and I won't stand idly by while the administration tries to ram it past my constituents in an illegal or unconstitutional manner. Nor will I stand idly by without defending Kentuckians from lost jobs and higher energy bills,” he wrote Monday. 

“No one can predict the verdicts of history, but here's one thing you can be sure of: I will continue to wage this battle against the EPA on behalf of my constituents, and it's a fight I intend to win.”