Hundreds in Hopkins County rally to 'keep the lights on,' speaking out in support of area coal mines. The rally took place at the Hopkins County Fair Grounds this afternoon, where some big names came in support. The Kentucky Coal Association and Friends of Coal-Kentucky sponsored the rally. Organizers say it's a way to discuss the impact of mining, the jobs it provides, and how coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky.
"The administration has launched a war on coal, and what I want everybody to understand is, we are going to fight back," says Senator Mitch McConnell. Hundreds in Hopkins County rally to 'keep the lights on,' and they are joined by some big names. From Representative Ed Whitfield, to Senator Mitch McConnell, many took the stage to speak out against a war they believe is among them. "We have two big coal mines in Kentucky. One in Eastern Kentucky, and one in Western Kentucky. They are both important to our state's economy," says Senator McConnell. The Senator says it's the 5,000 lost jobs in Eastern Kentucky coal mines that brings him to the Western part of the state to rally. He says a war on coal in the nation is a direct war on Kentucky.
McConnell and other pro-coal rally members react to the criticism of coal, but say jobs and economic growth are what matters to the people in this crowd. "A lot of them were thanking me for standing up to Barack Obama, and fighting back on a war on coal," adds Senator McConnell. While supporters gather, others in the community voice their opinions outside the walls of the rally. "I think it's dangerous," says Scarlett Gonzalez. She is not entirely against coal mining, but does have her concerns. "I have a lot of friends who's families are in the coal mines, and they are just worried about a lot of different explosives." Jacob Cates says he comes from a long line of coal miners. "This region in general, and this county in general, is built on coal miners. It's something that's a great deal of pride for the people around here." Either way, many in Kentucky just want to 'keep the lights on."
Senator McConnell added that in the argument of the environment, and use of solar energy instead, he says coal powers America and should continue to do so.