Opinion

Clean Power Plan will harm this region

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — President Barack Obama is dishonest and delusional. The Clean Power Plan he and his Environmental Protection Agency have developed is a targeted, illegal attack. And Obama attempted to fend off criticism of his effort – the worst combination of Quixote and Machiavelli – by taking issue with the term “war on coal” during his announcement of the plan.

Fine. If the president does not want his tilt to be called a war on coal, or a war on affordable electricity, it can be given other labels. It is a war on West Virginia. It is a war against Ohio and Kentucky. It is an assault against Americans he has already pushed to or below the poverty line.

Obama is lying when he says the Clean Power Plan will mean Americans save money on their electricity bills. He is conveniently forgetting what will happen to the power grid if coal dies. He is not showing the rest of the country what he has done to keep states such as West Virginia from being able to take advantage of the enormous reserves of natural gas below our feet. And he is dishonest in claiming his plan will create “tens of thousands of jobs,” while ignoring the tens of thousands who are, or will soon be, out of work as coal companies declare bankruptcy, mines and prep plants shut down and coal-fired power plants close.

As he shrugs and claims he has sent plenty of aid for job creation, training and employment services to the coal fields, the president has surely noticed that, midway through his second term, the Mountain State’s unemployment rate is the highest in the country – 7.4 percent, in June, more than 2 percentage points above the national average.

And for what? United Nations data show closing every coal-fired power plant in the country would result in a reduction of global carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 0.002 percent. In exchange for taking away the jobs of hard-working West Virginians, raising their electricity rates and continuing to stonewall efforts to diversify the state’s economy, Obama knows this plan will make an almost imperceptible difference for the environment.

Our members of Congress, legislators, governor and attorney general have vowed to act, but as he has proved time and again, Obama is not afraid to push through illegal programs knowing full well the speed of any action against him will be too slow to actually prevent him from doing the damage he intended.

West Virginia and states like us must try, anyway. The president must not be able to count on us going down without a fight.

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