Matt Lewis
It's not just health care that could endanger 2010 Democratic incumbents. 

As several recent news stories indicate, the Obama administration's environmental policies may also be putting Democrats in a vulnerable position. 

This is especially true, when you consider the impact regulation may be having on the economy and unemployment. 

The Washington Times recently reported on how the EPA's onerous regulations may be harming business:
To appreciate the extent to which the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama is a regulator reborn, consider this: EPA officials have begun to cut air pollution by invoking the Clean Water Act. …Long quiescent under President George W. Bush, the agency is churning out initiatives and regulations at a pace that pleases its friends in the environmental movement and frightens many in the business community. (Amanda DeBard, “Obama’s EPA is a regulator reborn,” Washington Times, November 4th, 2009)
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Many of the recent articles focus on how the Obama administration's policies are impacting the coal mining industry in West Virginia.  For example,

Since February, the EPA has placed 175 surface coal mining projects under review and halted 79 of them because of their effects on surface water. For 30 years, the agency did not object to the air pollution caused when miners blast dirt into the air to expose coal deposits. Now, invoking the Clean Water Act, the agency is moving to block, at least for now, the projects when they sully nearby streams with the same pollutant. … The agency also has, for the first time, revoked a permit for a surface mine because the project in West Virginia could violate the Clean Water Act. (Amanda DeBard, “Obama’s EPA is a regulator reborn,” Washington Times, November 4th, 2009)

This appears to be putting Democrats in West Virginia in a vulnerable position:

West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall II -- the loyal Democrat and friend of labor -- is squarely between those who want to restructure the American economy and those who see coal and affordable energy as critical to the nation's strength. His support for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 helped to put him in this tough situation. … Last summer, Rahall had a major role in the congressional drama that led to the House passing cap-and-trade legislation 219-212. The bill would impose costs on power generators for emitting carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas -- and make coal a less appealing fuel. With rumors surfacing back home that Rahall would have a serious challenger next year if he voted the wrong way, he cast his vote against the cap-and-trade legislation. (Dan Page, WTRF, “Coal, Rahall caught in political vice,” November 5th, 2009).

It is being reported that this may mean Rep. Rahall has a "serious challenger:"

The whole state is watching, and Rahall knows it. He also must know those rumors are back about a serious candidate emerging to challenge him next year. (Dan Page, WTRF, “Coal, Rahall caught in political vice,” November 5th, 2009,

These excerpts are focused on West Virginia, but with many states like Ohio and Michigan experiencing tough economic times, you can be sure this is not the last you will hear of this issue ...

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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