I, for one, will not allow Obama and his liberal Environmental Protection Agency to harm one of the biggest industries in this part of the state, which includes the senate district I represent. That is why I have worked with other legislators, including ones across the aisle like Senator Roger Bedford, to do everything we can in Alabama to thwart the president’s job-killing agenda and his “War on Coal.”
Did you know that Alabama’s coal mining industry directly employs 4,000 coal miners who bring home a total annual payroll of more than $300 million? The industry supports 16,000 Alabama jobs and has a $1.3 billion dollar economic impact on our state.
Like many of the people in this area, my roots run deep into the coal bed. Our family earned its livelihood because of the coal industry. My father-in-law worked in the mines. Both my grandfathers were coal miners. To me, this unfounded assault on our coal and the jobs it supports is personal.
Just this past legislative session, I sponsored a resolution signed by 28 other senators urging the EPA to issue guidelines regarding power production that would allow Alabama to regulate its existing power plants. We believe oversight of Alabama’s power plants should be a responsibility of the state, not some overreaching federal bureaucracy. We understand the need to protect the coal industry and coal power plants in our state.
During the 2012 legislative session, I passed legislation that extended tax incentives to mining companies that make large, job-creating investments in the state. That legislation was instrumental in convincing Walter Energy to invest $1.2 billion dollars in the Blue Creek mine project that will create 500 jobs that pay an average salary over $100,000.
As you can see, coal has a huge impact on our part of the state, whether or not you or someone in your family works directly for the industry. If President Obama has his way, over 16,000 Alabama families will lose their primary source of income, and we will all suffer.
For this reason, I will do everything within my power to protect coal. The radical environmentalists will tell you lies about coal and power generation, but don’t believe them. They are shipped in from the West Coast and other left-wing areas to pretend that the sky is falling. Job-killing special interests are funding them to the tune of millions of dollars. And I’m sick of their agenda that does nothing but hurt Alabama families and Alabama jobs.
You have my continued commitment that I will defend and protect our coal industry and the people who make their living in it. Please stand with me so the anti-job forces at play in Alabama will see that we don’t take kindly to being told what to do, especially by a bunch of out-of-touch liberals.
Greg Reed represents District 5 in the Alabama Senate.