KCA president Bill Bissett said that the annual award, announced October 24, was given to the House Natural Resources Committee leader for his position as a “proven leader who possesses a tremendous knowledge of Kentucky, its economy, and the direct connection between how we generate electricity and the economy of the commonwealth.”

“After his sponsorship and leadership regarding the unanimous passage of 2014’s House Bill 388, we wanted to recognize Chairman Gooch’s service and tireless commitment to Kentucky’s coal production and use,” he added.

House Bill 388, which served as the Kentucky general assembly’s response to President Obama’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations, requires that any plan to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency first be approved by the general assembly.

“While I was a coal miner for more than two years with Island Creek Coal Co., I have never forgotten this experience and remain a strong believer in using Kentucky’s natural resources to create opportunities across the commonwealth,” Gooch said.

“Now, more than ever, we need to stand together against outside forces who want to change how Kentucky and this country create electricity, and these efforts, if successful, will have a negative impact on the affordable, reliable electricity that we enjoy today.”