McConnell has from the start used the issue of declining employment and production in Kentucky’s mining industry against Grimes. While most industry analysts blame the decline thus far largely on market forces and the abundance of cheaper natural gas, they and groups like the Kentucky Coal Association have blamed the environmental policies of Obama.
Then on Monday, the Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced long-awaited regulations calling for carbon emission reduction targets. While the plan offers coal-dependent states like Kentucky flexibility, time and lower targets than many other states, the new rules are viewed in the industry as an attack on coal because coal-fired electrical generating plants are the biggest source of CO2 emissions.
McConnell immediately filed a bill in the Senate he calls the “Coal Country Protection Act” and called the new regulations “a national energy tax” and “a dagger aimed right at the heart of the middle class.” The bill would require certification that such regulations won’t cost jobs, affect the economy or raise electrical rates before they could be enforced.
Also on Tuesday, Kentuckians for a Strong Leadership, a 527 Super PAC supporting McConnell and advised by former McConnell staffer Scott Jennings, went up with its own radio ad which says, “Here in Kentucky Obama is supporting Alison Lundergan Grimes.” It goes on to say Grimes continued to support Obama even “after he declared war on our coal community.”
The McConnell campaign had this to say about the new Grimes ad:
"It is a fact that Alison Lundergan Grimes lined up as a delegate behind Barack Obama after he announced he would wage a war on coal and said nothing as thousands of Kentuckians lost their jobs,” said spokeswoman Allison Moore. “Her belated concern about the war on coal now that she's a candidate, after helping to ensure it by backing Obama, is insulting and transparently political."