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Congressman Whitfield Speaks at Muhlenberg Rotary and Ohio County Coal Mine

otaryclubofmuhlerg 300MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (7/5/13) – Tuesday was a busy day in the coalfields of Western Kentucky for Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District.

At noon Whitfield spoke before a fired-up audience at the weekly meeting of the Muhlenberg County Rotary Club. He then made his way to neighboring Ohio County in two last-minute hastily planned stops to discuss President Obama’s energy policy.

The Muhlenberg County Rotary Club gave Whitfield a standing ovation as he took to the podium to explain his views on the coming hazards of an energy policy.

Whitfield said, “This energy policy is designed to put the coal industry out of business, while promoting alternative energy sources that just will not do the job if America is to compete in the fiercely competitive global marketplace.”

Whitfield said that when Obama first ran for President in 2008 that he (Whitfield) had never seen a presidential candidate actually stand up and say that he planned to bankrupt the coal industry if elected. “But that is the one pledge he plans to keep,” said Whitfield.

“Even while the President tours South Africa pledging billions of dollars to electrify that continent with ‘green power’, back home the EPA is regulating the fossil fuel industry into extinction. It has reached the point now where often the coal industry can’t even get a permit to open a plant. So, you see coal miners losing their jobs.”

The congressman continued by stating that, "America has a 295 year supply of coal, and yet we are the only nation in the world in which you cannot build a new coal-fired power plant. Meanwhile in China, India and Asia they are building more and more coal-fired plants, because it's a good way to create low cost electricity. But this president, through the EPA, his executive orders, and through regulations, is unilaterally putting America at a disadvantage to compete in the global marketplace, at a time when our goal should be to stimulate the economy."

"I'm all for clean energy, and over time, we'll need all the energy we can get from all sources,” said Whitfield. “But if any of you know anything about windmills, you know that there just is not enough land to build enough windmills to meet all our energy needs. This president has a great personality, has a great smile, and is a guy you might want to go out and have a beer with. And can read wonderful speeches from monitors, But his whole plan is to do away with all forms of fossil fuel use."

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Later, taking questions from the audience, Rotary Club member Ron Poole asked Whitfield "What are we going to do when we lose 51% of our energy which is produced by coal? Are we going to start having brownouts?" asked Poole.

Whitfield cited that California is dealing with that exact problem now. He noted that the state is "scrambling to figure out what they are going to do this summer, since they are predicting brownouts, because they won't use any fossil fuel energy out there at all."

Nuclear is also on the endangered list as an energy source, according to Whitfield.

"Regulations are also going to affect the nuclear industry as well, California is trying to close some of their nuclear plants, and New York is trying to close several nuclear plants as well,” he said. “It's going to be an energy reliability issue. That's the problem we are going to have."

After talking to Rotary Club members, Whitfield headed down the road for another hastily prepared, surprise visit with more than 200 coal miners at Equality Coal Mine, near Centertown in Ohio County.

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Whitfield told SurfKY News Reporters, after speaking to the concerned miners, that one of their main questions to him was, "How can the president even do this, to totally stop the use of coal for our energy needs?"

Whitfield's response to them, he said, was that, "The president is doing this in the dead of night. He is misleading the American people, he's lying to the American people, and he is not being transparent."

Reporters also asked the congressman about the possibility of inviting the President to come to Western Kentucky and talk to coal miners face to face about the Obama energy policy. Whitfield voiced his continuing frustration.

"The President has talked to coal miners before, and he tells them he wants to utilize coal, but he really doesn't want to utilize coal. He says one thing, and does another," Whitfield observed, marking the end to a busy day for the congressman, sharing his thoughts and concerns on energy with his constituents in the coal fields of Western Kentucky.

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Paul McRee
SurfKY News

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