Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warns that President Obama's latest plan to combat climate change includes a "war on coal" that will wreak havoc on the nation's still wobbly economy.
In an opinion piece published in Tuesday's Hazard (Ky.) Herald, the senator said the administration's proposed environmental regulations would be particularly damaging to his home state and its large and influential coal industry, calling it a "war on jobs."
"The cheap, plentiful energy coal provides is critical to many Kentucky industries," McConnell wrote. "The president may as well call his war on coal what it is: a war on jobs in this country, and a plan to ship jobs overseas."
Obama last week announced a broad proposal to curb the nation's greenhouse emissions that includes new rules to limit carbon dioxide releases from coal and oil-fueled power plants.
But McConnell, who will face Democratic state Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in his bid for re-election in 2014, said now is not the time to hinder industry by imposing new regulations that could lead to higher energy costs.
"In the global economy of the 21st century, retaining — much less expanding — our manufacturing core is challenging," he wrote. "We face relentless competition from all corners of the globe. Government must be careful about the types of policies they enact."
While the Obama initiative is only a proposal, McConnell said he fears the president will ram through his plan "whether we want it or not" via "presidential fiat: more executive orders, more czars, and more unaccountable bureaucrats."
McConnell also tried to dispel accusations that Republicans have shunned development of "clean energy," such as wind, solar and natural gas, saying his party wants an "all-of-the-above strategy."
But "removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our still-recovering economy," he said. "Kentuckians want common-sense policies to make energy cleaner and more affordable."