Kentucky Lawmakers Pass Bills To Protect Coal From Environmental Rules

"State lawmakers soundly criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday as two legislative panels approved different measures to shield Kentucky coal mining from federal pollution rules.

"The EPA don't understand mining," House Natural Resources and Environment Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence, said at his committee's hearing. "We're trying to say to those folks, we don't want them having ultimate say or control."

Lawmakers acknowledged that it's unclear what legal weight their measures would carry beyond "sending a message" to Washington. Federal law usually trumps state law, especially in regards to environmental protection and interstate commerce. But lawmakers said they're trying to make a point for states' rights."

John Cheves reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader February 17, 2011.

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/18/2011