Hillary Clinton released a statement on Thursday calling for the passage of the the bipartisan Miners Protection Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The plan would rescue the pension offered by the United Mine Workers (UMW) and ensure that retired miners continue to receive their benefits. UMW will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday to gather support for the bill. In her statement, Clinton expresses her support of the act saying that it will ensure that miners receive the benefits they have earned. A copy of Clinton’s statement is below.
“I firmly believe that if you spent your life keeping the lights on for our country, we can’t leave you in the dark. For more than a century, America’s coal miners have put their own health and safety at risk to provide affordable and reliable energy for the nation. They are entitled to the benefits they have earned and the respect they deserve.
That’s why I am proud to stand with Senator Joe Manchin and the United Mine Workers of America in calling on Congressional Republicans to stop playing politics and give the Miners Protection Act a vote before the benefits of these hardworking men and women start expiring later this year.
We also have a shared responsibility to reinvest in the coal communities that have been an engine of American economic growth. That’s why last fall, I proposed a comprehensive revitalization and job creation plan including building 21st-century infrastructure and high-speed broadband, repurposing abandoned minelands and power plants to support new economic activity, and creating a Coal Communities Challenge Fund to support locally-driven economic development priorities in small business, agriculture, health care, tourism, housing, and other industries.
And we need to invest in carbon capture and sequestration, which will reduce emissions from coal and natural gas combustion, and will help us meet the global climate challenge more quickly and at lower cost, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s why I support Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act, which Senator Kaine has also co-sponsored.”
Throughout her campaign, Hillary Clinton has stood up for the healthcare and retirement security of American miners and their families and challenged attempts by coal companies, including Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, and Walter Energy to use bankruptcy courts to shirk their responsibilities.
While under pressure some of these companies have since reversed course, a federal backstop is required to protect coal miners, their families, and their communities. Hillary Clinton has called for such a backstop as part of her plan to revitalize coal communities.