Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jim Gooch and Other Leaders Across the South Back Coal

During the recent meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference, state Rep. Jim Gooch joined with other state legislators from across the South in support of a resolution that calls on the federal government to reconsider new greenhouse gas standards as they pertain to fossil fuels.

“As the third-leading coal-producing state in the nation, Kentucky has a strong incentive to see these new standards changed,” said Rep. Gooch, who chairs the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Natural Resources and Environment Committee. “Otherwise, these changes will have a devastating effect on the coal industry, resulting in unnecessary hikes in electricity costs across the country and making Kentucky much less competitive economically.”

The policy position was adopted by the full bi-partisan Southern Legislative Conference, which represents Kentucky and 14 other southern states. Rep. Gooch is a member of SLC’s Energy and Environment Committee, which sponsored the resolution that calls for different standards for coal and natural gas-fueled power plants and to keep access open “to all available domestic sources of energy.”

“There is broad agreement that these new federal standards are the wrong direction for our country to take, especially as we near the day when we are truly energy independent,” Rep. Gooch said. “These standards would effectively put coal on the sideline in the years ahead and in turn keep us from using a resource that is both affordable and substantial. We as a nation need to take advantage of coal, not turn our back on it.”

Kentucky House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins of Morehead, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) highlighted the impact on the Bluegrass state, saying “Kentucky has lost more than 5,700 coal mining jobs in just the last 18 months because of over-reaching EPA regulations against coal and if the trend continues we are looking at even more devastating consequences for our economy and people. I fully support the policy position that was passed today and hope that it gets the attention from the White House it deserves.”
Gooch added that the President’s regulations “would mean there would be no new coal-fired power plants built in this country, because the technology’s not available to meet the standards.”
Gooch, a Providence resident and native, represents House District 12, which includes Webster and McLean Counties, as well as portions of Daviess and Hopkins Counties. He has served in this capacity since first being elected in 1995.

Founded in 1947, the Southern Legislative Conference is the largest of four regional legislative groups operating under The Council of State Governments and comprises the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

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