MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Coal Jobs Count, a grassroots advocacy organization whose stated goal is to “fight the overreach of EPA regulations,” is traversing the state this week on a bus tour warning Alabamians that the Obama Administration’s climate policies pose an existential threat to thousands of jobs and affordable power rates for all Alabama citizens.
“More than 16,000 jobs are tied to Alabama’s coal industry,” Tiffany Bittner, executive director of Coal Jobs Count, said at a news conference in Hoover Wednesday afternoon. “Alabama families and businesses depend on coal for affordable power rates. If Washington takes away the state’s coal industry, those jobs and affordable power bills disappear.”
Alabama Coal Association president George Barber said the the purpose of this week’s bus tour it to make sure that Alabamians understand the challenge facing the state’s coal industry.
“The Alabama coal industry is under attack by the EPA,” he said plainly. “Alabama coal represents two billion dollars of revenue to the state each year. If you take that out of the equation it hurts Alabama’s economy.”
Among those attending the Montgomery stop of the tour were Public Service Commissioner Chip Beeker, who was recently elected on a platform of pushing back against federal overreach in the energy sector.
“Members of the Public Service Commission are dedicated to affordable power rates,” Beeker said. “The people sent a strong message last week. They want common sense from the EPA. What we’ve seen coming from Washington is irresponsible and threatens our jobs and family budgets.”
In addition to stops in Montgomery, Hoover and Gardendale on Wednesday, the bus tour will continue in Cullman, Walker and Tuscaloosa counties Thursday, and conclude in Tuscaloosa County on November 29th for Iron Bowl festivities.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims