Thousands rally in support of coal industry

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It's a bill aimed to reduce emissions and improve the environment, but many people in eastern Kentucky say the proposed Cap and Trade bill would devastate the commonwealth. On Saturday, thousands rallied together in Knott County to have their message heard.

Thousands of people in Kentucky say it's not an issue for democrats or republicans, but one for our entire country.

Representative Hubert Collins says, "We stand up for what we think is what our people want. We know that we want us to stand up for and support the coal business real strong."

"People are out here in a positive protest and they want to know what their leaders want to do and where we stand on these issues and what can be done to help change the opinion of the Congress and the Senate," says Senator Brandon Smith.

Local politicians say the Cap and Trade would fine places that burn coal, leaving Kentucky in the dark, closing mines, cutting jobs, and increasing the cost for energy nationwide. Most supporters say they would rather work together with renewable energy sources and improve coal production.

"I think everybody here is for doing the proper coal mining process, making it as safe and as environmentally friendly as possible," says Joe Grieshop, the Harlan County judge Executive.

Representative Jim Gooch says, "We need to burn it cleaner, we know that, but we can't go out here and risk our economy on something that's not even developed yet."

And these supporters say they are ready to take their message to Washington.

"I agree with that, taking the train to Washington because I think that's the only way to get them to realize that there is another side to the issue," says Grieshop.

They call coal mining part of their heritage and these supporters say they hope to continue their way of life for years to come. Organizers say more than five thousand people showed up for the rally and say some supporters flew if from as far Washington D.C. for the event.