Letter to the Editor
Published 10:22 am Tuesday, January 7, 2020
After years of blocking legislation to fund miners pensions, Mitch suddenly is supporting one. He needs votes.
Hopefully, eastern Kentucky won’t forget that in 2015, 2017 and 2019, Mitch blocked funding for miners pensions and healthcare. In 2016, he blocked Obama’s Power Plus Plan,$1 billion effort to help Appalachia transition away from the dying coal industry.
In 2018, he cut coal taxes in half – taxes that were helping struggling communities. In 2019, Moscow Mitch diverted treasury funds earmarked for Appalachian Development in order to bankroll an aluminum plant financed by a previously sanctioned Russian oligarch. (Mitch was instrumental in getting the sanctions lifted.)
He eliminated regulation, which protected miners against unsafe mining practice and communities against pollution. He is trying to eliminate healthcare and food stamps. He is blocking passage of bills which reduce medicine and healthcare costs.
Eastern Kentucky counties are the poorest in America. There are few jobs because coal, their only industry, is dying. Communities are plagued with opioid abuse. Roads are deteriorating. Once fresh water streams now run orange from acid runoff and 1.4 million acres of Appalachian forests destroyed because of unregulated mining.
One can only conclude communities this poor, this unhealthy, this needy don’t have good representation in Congress.