As the Environmental Protection Agency begins its public forums on coal mining permits in Kentucky, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is rallying for coal to be a bigger part of the nation's energy portfolio. 

McConnell has consistently criticized the EPA for its regulatory stances, saying they are harmful to Kentucky’s mining and agriculture industries. And he doubled down on that stance in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“Simply put, my constituents are under siege from the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda and the EPA is the worst offender,” he said. “It is high time the Obama administration stop treating the Kentucky coal industry as the problem and start recognizing that it has been and will continue to be part of the solution,” McConnell says

Both coal and environmental groups are expected to rally and testify during the EPA meetings in Kentucky this week.

While pro-coal groups will be on hand at both meetings, the Sierra Club, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and many other environmental organizations have rallies and testimonies planned.