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Where Do Kentucky’s Gubernatorial Candidates Stand on Coal and Climate Change?

Hal Heiner campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner says he isn’t sure whether burning fossil fuels like coal contributes to climate change.

Heiner spoke to Kentucky Public Radio at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s country ham breakfast last Thursday, saying that he’s on the fence when it comes to climate science.

“I don’t have a scientific position, on contribution or not, but what I do know is … if we’re going to stay economically competitive in a global marketplace, we have to burn coal,” said Heiner.

Heiner recently attacked his primary opponent, Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, over comments he made last year that the state needs to move “beyond coal.”

Comer has not responded to a request for comment on this story.

Attorney General Jack Conway, the only Democrat running in the race thus far,  said in a statement that “many things contribute to climate change.”

Coal companies routinely give most handsomely to winning gubernatorial candidates, giving more money to Gov. Steve Beshear in both the 2007 and 2011 election cycles, according to records from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

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