Environment
12:52 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

U.S. Chamber Releases Ad Supporting McConnell, Citing Support for Coal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a new ad supporting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election bid, citing McConnell's support for the coal industry.

The Chamber is calling this ad part of its "voter education campaign" in Kentucky. The 31-second spot was released on YouTube today, and will start airing tomorrow for 10 days on TV stations across the state. Though a spokeswoman wouldn't share the amount the Chamber is spending on the ad, a Politico story from last week said the group spent $182,240 on a statewide ad buy on broadcast spots airing December 3 through December 12.

Here's a transcript of the ad:

"Coal means jobs in Kentucky. While the EPA and bureaucrats try to kill Kentucky's coal industry, Mitch McConnell is fighting back, fighting hard. Opposing regulations on coal. Working to block the EPA and shut down the bureaucrats...Mitch McConnell is making sure our coal industry remains strong."

EPA regulations to limit toxic air pollution and climate change-causing greenhouse gases have been a favorite of McConnell's recent talking points. Thousands of coal jobs have disappeared from Kentucky's eastern coalfields this year, partly because power plants across the country are switching to natural gas. That's driven some by regulations, but there are numerous other factors at play, including low natural gas prices, declining Appalachian coal reserves and increased coal production costs.

The ad also cites a WFPL News story from April 23, 2013...which the ad paraphrases as "Mitch McConnell making sure our coal remains strong." A spokeswoman said this was the story the ad referred to: one I did on April 29 on McConnell's introduction of legislation called the Coal Jobs Protection Act.

The ad doesn't mention McConnell's Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, though in the past she has also reiterated her support for Kentucky's coal industry.

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