Wednesday, Jun 4 at 5:11 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Seeking to further distance herself from President Barack Obama, fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes released a new radio commercial on Wednesday criticizing Obama for new carbon emissions regulations Grimes says will lead to "severe rate increases, shortages of power and the loss of even more coal jobs."
"Your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie in the sky regulations that are impossible to achieve," Grimes says in the 60 second ad. "It’s clear you have no idea how this affects Kentucky."
Both the radio spot and an accompanying newspaper ad are part of what the Grimes campaign describes as a "six-figure, multi-medium push in coal country," Eastern and Western Kentucky.
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency released its proposed new limits on carbon emissions which include targets of a 30 percent reduction by fossil-fuel power plants by 2030. In states that rely heavily on coal, the targets are slimmer. Kentucky, where 93 percent of electricity is powered by the burning of coal, would be required to cut its carbon emissions by 18 percent.
The campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who on Monday called the EPA rules "the single worst blow to Kentucky's economy in modern times," said Grimes is expressing belated concern for Kentucky coal.
"It is a fact that Alison Lundergan Grimes lined up as a delegate behind Barack Obama after he announced he would wage a war on coal," said McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore, "and said nothing as thousands of Kentuckians lost their jobs. Her belated concern about the war on coal now that she's a candidate, after helping to ensure it by backing Obama, is insulting and transparently political."
"I'm not surprised that she says that she's pro-coal, what else can she say?" McConnell told WHAS11 on Monday. "She would be ineffectively pro-coal because her election would guarantee that we have a senate that couldn't do anything about this problem."
McConnell said if Grimes was elected, it would guarantee that coal-opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who he predicted would block his proposed legislation aimed at stopping the new EPA rules, would remain majority leader.
On Tuesday, McConnell filed the Coal Country Protection Act, which would require several benchmarks be met before the rules could take effect:
· The Secretary of Labor would have to certify that it would not generate loss of employment.
· The Director of the Congressional Budget Office would have to certify that it would not result in any loss in American gross domestic product.
· The Administrator of the Energy Information Administration would have to certify that it would not increase electricity rates.
· And the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the President of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation would have to certify that electricity delivery would remain reliable.
Grimes' campaign manager, Jonathan Hurst, said McConnell's bill is "inadequate."
“While it is heartening Mitch McConnell turns his eye to coal country every six years to get re-elected, the senior senator’s new bill does not go far enough and is inadequate," Hurst said. " As Alison outlined in January, we must work to not only rein in the EPA’s overburdensome regulations, but also invest in clean coal technology, support coal and energy research, and keep foreign markets open for coal."
Grimes radio ad come one day after a pro-McConnell Super PAC, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, began airing a radio ad linking Alison Grimes to Obama, Reid and the EPA regulations.
“Grimes has long supported Obama, even after she knew he had a plan to destroy Kentucky’s coal economy,” said Scott Jennings, Senior Adviser to Kentuckians for Strong Leadership. “What she says now is irrelevant. If she wins, Barack Obama, aided by Majority Leader Harry Reid, will get another two years to work together to assault Kentucky’s coal economy. A vote for Grimes is a vote to kill jobs and raise electric rates. It’s that simple.”