Release Date: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Press Contact: 
Stanley Sturgill
KFTC Member
606-496-6402

Kentuckians push EPA to support clean energy jobs
Testimony given at Clean Power Plan hearing

Additional Contacts

Teri Blanton, KFTC member
502-582-0313

Mary Love, KFTC member
502-541-7434

Empower Kentucky Plan

Kentuckians are in West Virginia this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) to urge the Trump administration to support efforts to bring clean energy jobs to eastern Kentucky.

“For the last century, eastern Kentucky and West Virginia have produced the coal that has generated the electricity that has powered this country. I’m proud of that heritage,” said Stanley Sturgill of Harlan County, a retired coal miner and member of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. “But I also know we’ve paid a terrible price in the miles of destroyed streams, in our health, and in our declining economy, including thousands of jobs lost in recent years.

“Now that we have cleaner, safer and cheaper ways to generate energy, the only question should be: how can we create more of those new jobs right here and right now in Appalachia? I know this because not only have I lived it I’m still trying my best to keep living it,” added Sturgill who spent 41 years working underground and has black lung.

Sturgill and many others were urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to eliminate the Clean Power Plan rule. Issued in 2014, the rule calls on states to develop plans for modestly reducing their carbon pollution. Most would do that through energy efficiency programs, development of solar and wind power, and reducing the amount of coal burned.

“We should be talking about how to improve the Clean Power Plan, not scrap it,” said KFTC member Mary Love, who also is a leader in the Alliance For Appalachia. “We should be talking about how to better protect the health of low-income people and people of color who are on the frontlines in places where fossil fuels are extracted, processed, transported and burned.

“Undoing the Clean Power Plan threatens the health and safety of our communities, families and economy. Repealing this rule flies in the face of science and common sense, and turns us backwards when every climate scientist and most of the other nations of the world are telling us that we are out of time.”

“EPA director Scott Pruitt and our elected officials should stop giving our people false hope that coal is coming back,” added Harlan County native Teri Blanton. “Appalachia powered this country for the past century. We are proud of that history, but we know coal is not our future. It's time to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy here at home, so our workers and communities can benefit from the booming clean energy economy.”

State officials, starting with the Beshear administration, refused to develop a Clean Power Plan for Kentucky. So Kentuckians For The Commonwealth took on that task, gathering the input of thousands of Kentuckians before releasing the Empower Kentucky Plan (www.empowerkentucky.org) in April.

“The Empower Kentucky Plan produces better results for Kentuckians in terms of jobs, health and lower average bills than the business-as-usual scenario,” Love explained. “Specifically, our plan would create 46,300 more net jobs over 15 years and lower average home energy bills by 10 percent. It would invest nearly $400 million in programs to support a just transition for affected coal workers and communities. And it would slash CO2 pollution from Kentucky’s power sector by 40 percent over 15 years, far exceeding the requirements of the original Clean Power Plan.

“In other words, the Empower Kentucky Plan demonstrates that a just transition to a clean energy economy is possible. It shows that the very steps we need to address climate change are also better for jobs and ratepayers – and much better for health – than sticking our heads in the sand and doing nothing. And if we can do that in Kentucky, surely we can do it everywhere.”

Sturgill added, “I want to build a bright future for my family, for Appalachia, and for this world. I have a vision where my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren can have good jobs that support our families without doing damage to our water, air, land and climate.

“Repealing the Clean Power Plan is immoral and indefensible. I respectfully demand that the EPA withdraw this proposal. Start following the science and common sense, and do everything possible to protect our health and climate.”

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