LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Political leaders from coal-rich Kentucky were quick to denounce climate change initiatives announced by President Barack Obama, saying efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will hurt the state's mining industry and drive up energy costs.
The industry is a major employer in Kentucky and receives nearly unanimous support from Republicans and conservative Democrats.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said in a statement ahead of Obama's Tuesday speech that the president's policies are "threatening the very way of life that has sustained Kentucky communities for generations." Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waging a war on coal.
Kentucky has a deep economic and historical connection to the coal industry, but in recent years production in the state's Appalachian region has drastically dropped.