AppHarvest's $120 million venture to build North America's largest greenhouse in Rowan County is the type of investment Eastern Kentucky needs and has been a long time coming. For 35 years Mitch McConnell has systematically exploited Eastern Kentucky's economy and environment to protect his major political donor, the coal industry.
In 2014 he blocked a $1 billion bill to help Appalachia transition away from the dying coal industry and a $3 billion bill to continue funding miners' health care and pensions with existing Abandon Mine Reclamation funds. In 2018 he cut coal taxes in half — taxes that were helping struggling Kentucky communities. He eliminated regulations that protected miners from unsafe mining practices and communities from pollution.
One of his most egregious betrayals of Eastern Kentucky was stopping the federal investigation into the October 2000 Massey Energy disaster, which sent 300 million gallons of toxic coal sludge on a 70-mile path of destruction, killing 1.6 million fish, sweeping away bridges, flooding towns and contaminating the water of more than 27,000 people. While the investigation was pending, Massey contributed $100,000 to the Republican Senatorial Committee headed by McConnell. Massey was fined a mere $5,600. Today, Martin County water is still undrinkable.