The EPA says the proposal will cut costs and reduce electricity bills by about eight percent. Acting through a regulation rather than proposing a law allows President Obama to bypass Congress on the issue. Folks in areas that remain very dependent on the coal industry, like Pike County, see the proposal as a major challenge.
"It's going to devastate the county. You're talking about a whole lot of money that comes into this county due to that," said John Charlton, a 21-year veteran of underground coal mining. "It ain't like we got a big city economy like we can take a hit and bounce back."
"I just feel like it's really, really pushing people -- putting their backs against the wall and I don't feel like there's a good enough reason for it. I think they just want to eliminate us period," said Judy Chamberlain, whose late husband supported their family by dedicating long hours to the coal industry. "Thirty percent is just totally unreal to even ask for."
Those in favor of reducing power plant emissions say it's an important step in protecting Americans' health. Those against it believe it is a political move targeting the coal mining industry, some even going as far to call the proposal a nationwide tax on energy.