Why does U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell relentlessly advocate the elimination of regulations on coal? Is it because he believes deregulation will create jobs in Eastern Kentucky? Hardly. He knows the coal mining industry in Kentucky is in decline because of market forces; natural gas is cheaper, as is pit mining done in the West.
McConnell also knows — but doesn't seem to care — that overturning regulations negatively impacts the region. Without the Stream Buffer regulation (which McConnell overturned) coal companies can mine up to 50 feet from fresh water streams, polluting drinking water sources and permanently destroying ecosystems leaving wastelands, which can't support plants, animals or people. By 2012, 1.4 million acres of Appalachian forests had been destroyed by surface mining because of lack of regulations.
Coal generates 16% of America's electricity use. McConnell knows there are cleaner, cheaper and renewable energy sources, which could create jobs in Kentucky. Could his deregulation efforts have anything to do with the fact that he and his wife have received millions of dollars from his father-in-law, James Chao, who makes money shipping, among other things, coal to China?
Google the recent New York Times article about Elaine Chao and make up your own mind.