- The Washington Times - Monday, June 2, 2014

Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes vowed Monday to fight “the president’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry,” emerging as one of the first Democrats to denounce the administration’s tough new rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“President Obama’s new [Environmental Protection Agency] rule is more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky. Coal keeps the lights on in the Commonwealth, providing a way for thousands of Kentuckians to put food on their tables,” Mrs. Grimes said in a statement.

“When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I will fiercely oppose the President’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my number one priority,” said Mrs. Grimes, who serves as the Kentucky secretary of state.

She has struggled to distance herself from Mr. Obama and his policies, which are both wildly unpopular in the Bluegrass State, as she seeks to topple five-term GOP incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Since early in the race, Mr. McConnell has tried to label Mrs. Grimes as an ally of what he calls Mr. Obama’s “war on coal.”

The regulation announced Monday by the EPA would cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, hitting coal-fired plants especially hard.

Kentucky is the third-largest producer of coal in the United States and relies heavily on coal-fired power plants for its electricity.

The regulation threatens to hobble the run by Mrs. Grimes and other Democrats in tough races in states that produce coal or rely heavily on coal to generate electricity. The fate of several of those Democrats will determine whether the party can retain majority control of the Senate after November elections.

Before Mrs. Grimes issued her statement, the McConnell campaign quickly moved to tie her to the the new rule, the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

“Alison Lundergan Grimes was recruited by President Obama, who said he would ‘bankrupt’ the coal industry, and Harry Reid, who said ‘coal makes us sick’ and she is being funded by liberals nationwide who know that a vote for her is a vote to ensure further implementation of their anti-coal agenda in the U.S. Senate,” the campaign said in a blast email.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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