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Rally against new EPA regulations in Pittsburgh

Updated: Wednesday, July 30 2014, 05:23 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- One day before a public hearing on new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that could affect the coal industry, union workers protested at the Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh in an effort to send a message about how this could affect the coal industry in the tri-state area.
West Virginia ranks No. 2, while Ohio ranks 11th in the U.S. in coal production by state. That's how big this issue is for the coal industry in our area.
And it's big reason why workers who rallied in Pittsburgh Wednesday are upset. At least one of those union workers lives in Jefferson County.
"I came roughly 90 miles to come to this rally," said Boilermaker Frank Lukacena, who lives on a small farm in Wayne Township.   
Lukacena says the boilermaker trade has been in his family for nearly 50 years. He's been a boilermaker for 10 of those years, and he says most of his work is in the power plants that could be affected by the new EPA emissions regulations that could essentially eliminate coal as a power source in hopes to have cleaner air.
"If the coal plants go down, we go down," Lukacena said.
"All of our families are affected," said Peter McDowell from Boilermaker Local 154. "If this job goes away, then our pensions go away. If it goes away, my healthcare goes away for my wife, my kids. It's going to affect a lot of people. It's not just going to affect me and my family, it's going to affect a lot of Western Pennsylvanians, Ohioans, and West Virginians."
Those frustrations are mutual for hundreds of other workers who held signs in an effort to send a message to EPA the day before they hold a public hearing in Pittsburgh that will include government officials giving them a chance to give their input about the new regulations.
"I'm not sure the EPA is thinking enough ahead what effect these regulations will have," W.Va. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. "Not only on the availability, but affordability of electricity in this country."

Rally against new EPA regulations in Pittsburgh


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