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Mitch McConnell Applauds EPA Ruling During Stop In Louisville

Mitch McConnell speaking in Louisville.
J. Tyler Franklin
Mitch McConnell speaking in Louisville.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Obama Administration overstepped when it set limits for toxic air pollutants through an EPA rule.

McConnell spoke Monday in Louisville to local business leaders.

The Republican senator told members of Greater Louisville Inc. that the ruling was a necessary check on Obama’s regulatory power and it is likely good news for the coal industry.

“We will see just how far the courts are going to let the administration go in pursuing its agenda,” McConnell said.

But McConnell also said in other ways the ruling came too late.

Because of the EPA rule, energy companies in Kentucky have already done most of the work switching to natural gas anyway. So, this ruling could be mostly symbolic. McConnell told reporters that’s why state governments should delay implementing new rules until legal battles are settled.

“That’s the way that bureaucracy wins,” he said. “They signal where they are going, everybody adjusts to it and then by the time the litigation catches up to it, it’s too late.”

In 2014, the state produced 3.7 percent less coal than in 2013, according to a February state report. In the same period, coal employment declined in the state by 2.8 percent. The drops are attributed to several factors, including regulations but also shrinking coal reserves and lower natural gas prices.

McConnell also said the EPA’s new regulations were regressive and bad for business in the state.

EPA officials estimated the rule could create billions in benefits and prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases annually.