McConnell Sept 2013
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Reuters

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pledged to wage war against President Barack Obama -- over coal, that is. “What the administration has done to the coal industry is a true outrage,” the incoming majority leader told the (Louisville) Courier-Journal Friday. “So he had a war on coal and, honestly, I’m going to go to war with him over coal.”

McConnell remains the Senate minority leader until Congress’ lame-duck session ends next month. But come January, the Kentucky senator and his Republican peers vow to use spending bills as weapons to restrain funding for environmental agencies. These spending bills are “the best and most significant power” Congress wields to obstruct the Obama administration’s initiative to reduce carbon pollution from coal, McConnell told the Courier-Journal. Kentucky was the third largest coal-producing state in 2012 and about 93 percent of Kentucky’s gross electricity generation in 2013 came from coal, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In addition to the Republicans winning the midterm elections, retaking the Senate and holding the House, McConnell has a key ally against the Environmental Protection Agency. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers is a Kentucky Republican, like McConnell, who writes the spending bills and shares a distaste for the president’s “war on coal.” Rogers has endorsed a slew of measures in support of coal, including the Coal Jobs Protection Act, the Stop the War on Coal Act and the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act, to name a few.

Still, McConnell said he hopes Obama “has an epiphany and decides to honor the results of the election” and work as a bipartisan government, the Courier-Journal reported Friday.

"Just because the American people picked a divided government doesn't mean they're saying, 'We don't want you to do anything,'" he told the Courier-Journal. "I think what they're saying is, 'We want you to work on things that you could agree with,' which obviously is going to mean in the political center."