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Bentley vows to fight the feds, EPA and ‘stupid regulations’ in second term

Gov. Bentley meets coal miners at the Drummond Camp Creek Mine Wed. Oct. 29, 2014
Gov. Bentley meets coal miners at the Drummond Camp Creek Mine Wed. Oct. 29, 2014

OAKMAN, Ala. — Gov. Robert Bentley visited the Drummond Camp Creek Coal Mine in Walker County on Wednesday and brought with him some fierce criticism of an “overreaching” federal government and the EPA regulations that he says are currently threatening to close Alabama coal mines, destroy jobs and raise electricity rates for Alabama consumers.

“What y’all do is so important and we cannot let the federal government shut us down,” Bentley told the assembled crowd of coal miners. “We’ve got to protect y’all’s jobs, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to stand up and fight the federal government and the EPA and these stupid regulations that they come out with.”

During his remarks, Bentley recalled a visit he took to the White House earlier this year, during which he had dinner with Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the time, the EPA was considering a sweeping new mandate that would require existing coal-fired power plants to reduce their emissions by 30 percent.

“I asked her, I said, ‘Gina, who comes up with these crazy ideas?’” Bentley recalled. “That’s what I said. I said, ‘Who comes up with the crazy idea of setting it at 30 percent?’ Well, she stammered around because she couldn’t answer me. I said, ‘You’re killing jobs! Do you not care that we have 16,000 coal miners in Alabama and you’re going to kill their jobs?’” (Editor’s note: Watch the video below to see Bentley tell the story in an earlier Yellowhammer interview.)

The EPA ultimately announced the new “rule” — which conservatives have dubbed an “energy tax” — in May.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates the plan will thwart $50 billion a year in GDP and prevent 220,000 jobs per year from being created. Household disposable income is expected to drop more than $550 billion a year.

“We all want clean air, we all want clean water. But we’ve got to use the natural resources we have in this country and we’ve got to produce jobs in Alabama,” Bentley said. “One of the ways we produce jobs is by producing low cost energy and y’all are a part of that. I’m for you and I’m going to be for you from now until I’m out of office. I’m going to do everything I can on the state level and I’m certainly going to do all I can on that national level to fight all of this that’s going on trying to shut down every coal mine in the country. That’s what they really want to do. Their goal is to shut down every coal mine in the United States. So we’ve got to stop that. We really do.”

Bentley is set to square off against Democrat Parker Griffith in the General Election this coming Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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