MINERS GO TO WASHINGTON TO PROTEST ACID RAIN BILL

MINERS GO TO WASHINGTON TO PROTEST ACID RAIN BILL

Acid rain legislation supported by President Bush and a group of senate leaders will bring a storm of protest Wednesday when 400 high-sulfur coal miners descend on Washington.

Demonstrations attended by some coalfield congressional representatives, possibly including Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., chairman of the appropriations committee, are scheduled to be staged on the capitol steps, in front of the White House and at the Environmental Protection Agency.Robert Murray, an Ohio coal developer, is expected to admonish President Bush and George Mitchell, D-Maine, Senate Majority leader: "Read my lips. You are destroying our lives and our livelihoods."

President Bush and the senate group, led by Sen. Mitchell, struck a compromise on clean air March 1 that Mr. Murray argues will throw 30,000 miners out of work, drive up electricity rates in certain regions and render unmarketable about two-thirds of the nation's coal reserves.

Mr. Murray is the president of Ohio Valley Coal Co., Alledonia, Ohio, which produces about 2.8 million tons of coal annually for electric power generation.

Debate over a proposal sponsored by Sen. Byrd to pay partial salaries to coal miners thrown out of work by acid rain control legislation has been a major stumbling block to Senate passage of the compromise bill backed the President Bush and Sen. Mitchell.

Clean air legislation hasn't reached the floor in the House. Presently, it's the subject of debate in the Energy and Commerce Committee.