coal industry en 'Coal Country' State Democrats Defend Alison Lundergan Grimes from GOP Attacks <p>Democratic state lawmakers representing Eastern Kentucky are coming to the defense of U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, saying Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell has failed the coal industry.</p><p>The comments come as Grimes is being pilloried by Republicans after Senate Majority Leader Harry <a href="">Reid blocked a bill McConnell proposed to ease federal regulations</a> on coal operators.</p><p>An industry leader questioned if Grimes could stand up to Reid or the Obama administration.</p><p>But state representatives from coalfield areas in the state argue it's McConnell who hasn't done enough to help the struggling industry.</p><p>From the Grimes campaign:</p><blockquote><p>"You will not find a stronger advocate than I am for our coal miners and the communities they call home," says state Rep. Leslie Combs, who r<a href="">epresents parts of Harlan, Letcher, and Pike Counties</a>. "Mitch McConnell has been in Washington for 30 years, yet he has let Kentucky's greatest industry die on his watch. He likes to tout his leadership in the Senate and on coal. If Senator McConnell has been such a powerful leader on coal, the industry would be thriving and not dying. It's time to put partisanship and rhetoric aside to work together to put Kentuckians back to work."</p></blockquote><p>Other lawmakers such as state House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins and Rep. John Short spoke to Grimes's ability to "reach across the aisle." Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:35:02 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6907 at 'Coal Country' State Democrats Defend Alison Lundergan Grimes from GOP Attacks Senate Democrats Blocking McConnell's Coal Bill Puts Alison Lundergan Grimes in Tough Spot <p>The pro-coal message of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was complicated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, who blocked a bill introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to ease federal regulations.</p><p>Reid's actions comes just days after Grimes called on the Obama administration to hold off on new environmental restrictions.</p><p>Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell asked for unanimous consent on his&nbsp; <a href="">"Saving Coal Jobs Act"</a> to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing carbon emission standards for power plants.</p><p>"The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics," McConnell said. "The EPA’s actions ignore the thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods."</p><p>Reid quickly objected to delay the bill while <a href="">promising to hold a vote at a later date</a> despite McConnell's urgency that the measure is needed now ahead of new EPA emission standards this week.</p><p>A coal industry leader had already raised <a href="">doubts about Grimes being a more effective voice for Kentucky coal operators and miners than McConnell</a>. But Reid's maneuvering raises further questions about whether Grimes can stand up to the Democratic leader while relying on him politically to unseat McConnell.</p><div>"Alison isn't afraid to stand up to members of either party," a Grimes campaign aide told WFPL. "She will stand up for Kentucky as its next U.S. Senator. When she is in the Senate she will get things done on behalf of Kentucky's working families. Today just underscores McConnell's weakness and ineffectiveness. His influence isn't working and he's unable to deliver for the people of Kentucky." Thu, 19 Sep 2013 18:02:00 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6904 at Senate Democrats Blocking McConnell's Coal Bill Puts Alison Lundergan Grimes in Tough Spot Discussing the Black Lung Resurgence in Appalachia <p>Friday on WFPL&#39;s <em>Byline</em>, our environment reporter Erica Peterson spent some time with NPR reporter Howard Berkes and Chris Hamby with the Center for Public Integrity. They&rsquo;ve been investigating a serious resurgence in black lung disease in Appalachia in a <a href="">series of reports and features</a> made public last week.</p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 12:01:23 +0000 Brad Yost 1007 at Discussing the Black Lung Resurgence in Appalachia