West Virginia coal miner Roger Horton told WOWK-WV the EPA's new carbon emission rules will be the most "crippling" yet.
The Obama administration is set to mandate the power sector reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent below the 2005 levels.
Horton criticized the move as an attack on West Virginia's way of life. "Coal has been my livelihood," he said. "I put two kids through college with it and put my wife through school."
The Environmental Protection Agency previously announced it intended to regulate carbon dioxide emissions through the Clean Air Act. Traditionally, the 1970s-era law has been used to regulate pollutants like soot, mercury, and lead. But after failing to get any legislation through Congress, the Obama administration now argues the law gives them authority to regulate carbon dioxide.
"We will be in my mind the hardest hit of any state," Horton said of West Viringia. "It will be as crippling of an effect that has been given to us yet."
Local West Virginia state delegate Rupert Phillips Jr. echoed Horton's sentiments. "If we don't have coal in southern West Virginia, we have nothing," he said. "They just constantly keep raising the bar […] I think the country needs to wake up and see what's going to happen if we do away with coal."
Horton also warned the move will increase the cost of producing energy, trickling down to consumers' electric bills.