MADISONVILLE, Ky. (8/27/13) – The message from U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield's office is that while the current administration has been saying "Jobs, jobs, jobs," its policy on coal has been anything but energizing.
Whitfield is among the speakers for next week's Family Coal Rally in Hopkins County. His field representative, Michael Pape of Hopkinsville, said the congressman stresses the importance of coal daily in Washington, D.C., as part of his role as Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee.
"The current energy policy is out to destroy coal," said Pape. "It's still the cheapest form of producing electricity. You're not going to get that from windmills and solar panels. The hard reality is that the economy is not picking up like it could have been."
Pape said the U.S. is exporting more coal now than ever in its history as European countries improve their economies by using U.S. coal to generate electricity. The policy that is dampening the economic fires in the U.S. is fueling the economies in countries like China and India, he said.
"With newly passed Environmental Protection (Administration) regulations, you cannot get a permit for new coal-fired power in the U.S.," said Pape. "We're becoming less competitive with other countries because of this. That's what this rally is all about — to help get the message across the country that we need coal."
While the plans for the upcoming Family Coal Rally Sept. 5 are being fine-tuned, the list of exhibit events and attractions is growing.
So far, the lineup of speakers also includes U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, State Rep. Ben Waide, State Rep. Jim Gooch, Bro. Bob Morrison, Joe Craft, president and CEO of Alliance Coal, and Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.
The free rally will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 at the Hopkins County Fairgrounds Ballard Convention Center on Arch Street in Madisonville.
Coal miners attending will be included in a free gun raffle while everyone may participate in raffles for several other prizes, including iPads.
Attractions include an inflatable obstacle course, Don Bowles' race car, the Madisonville Police Department's Hummer, Bouncing B's, carnival games and cornhole games.
Organizers are welcoming fifth-grade classes in Hopkins County Schools, Grace Baptist, Christ the King and Dawson Springs Schools to participate in creating table displays explaining, "How Coal Makes Our Life Better." There will be cash prizes for first, second and third place winners.
Refreshments will be available for purchase including funnel cakes, popcorn, shaved ice and items from Brother's BBQ and the Hanson Country Store.
The rally is being sponsored by the Friends of Coal, Alliance Coal, Armstrong Coal, Murray Energy, Nixcan, R. J. Temper, Ruby Concrete Company, Dr. Pepper, Tango Motor Transit, Ronald Johnson Engineering, Star Mine Services and Top Gun.
Rita Dukes Smith
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