The Obama Administration's Assault on Coal Industry

Meredith Jessup

10/27/2009 10:04:10 PM - Meredith Jessup
As Congress considers cap-and-trade legislation--an idea that then-candidate Obama promised would bankrupt the coal industry--the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already started waging war on the industry, putting the brakes on mining in certain coal-producing states. 

The Washington Times' Amanda Carpenter reports:

While campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama said his cap-and-trade tax plans would “bankrupt” anyone building a coal-fired power plant. Although those taxes haven’t materialized, the Environmental Protection Agency has put the brakes on 79 surface mining permits in four states since he was elected.

The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant “enhanced” review. But the agency went even further last week, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia – a move that has caused anxiety among coal-state Democrats about the future of the industry under the Obama administration. …

Although his favored cap-and-trade bill hasn’t yet been passed, West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin III, who supported Mr. Obama’s candidacy, called the EPA moves part of a stealth campaign to stifle the industry.

“Right now, my belief is that they’re trying to kill off surface mining through regulation what they cannot get done through legislation,” Mr. Manchin told MetroNews Talkline, a West Virginia call-in radio program, earlier this month. In West Virginia, 23 permits are being held up, with other affected states being Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Among the coal states' representatives voicing opposition to the move is West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller:

“I am angry with the EPA’s announcement that they will use veto power to revoke the authorized Spruce Mine permit in Logan,” he said. “It is wrong and unfair for the EPA to change the rules for a permit that is already active.”

Perhaps Rockefeller (and Gov. Manchin) should've thought about the ramifications these horrible"environmental" policies would have on his state BEFORE supporting Obama during the presidential campaign.  And I guess the jobs of coal plant workers won't be among those "saved or created" by the Obama administration in the near future...

In addition, are Rockefeller and other Senators from these coal-producing states worried enough about their constituents and the energy market to oppose the president's cap-and-trade policy?  Somehow I doubt it.