Despite Dems’ insistence, coal an important issue

An editorial from The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It is no surprise that, as The Associated Press reported, “West Virginia’s top legislative leaders aren’t sure clamoring over coal this election season does much good for Appalachia’s already-spluttering industry.”

They are all Democrats, after all. And their party’s candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives have lost favor with many voters because their support for President Barack Obama’s energy policies and affordable electricity.

An AP reporter talked to state Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison. He also quoted Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Both Miley and Kessler noted the coal industry faces multiple challenges. Indeed it does. Especially in southern West Virginia, it has become more difficult to mine coal.

But hundreds of Mountain State miners who have lost their jobs during just the past few months can place blame squarely on Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s multi-faceted assault on coal clearly is aimed at destroying the industry.

In the process, the Obama administration’s policies will mean much higher electric bills for tens of millions of Americans who rely on power from coal-fired generating stations.

While Miley and Kessler have no control over federal policy, Rockefeller does have influence. As many of his constituents are aware, he has used it to support the president and the EPA.

Again, it is no surprise Democrats in office wish voters would pay less attention to Obama and the EPA. Their party’s candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives from West Virginia are in deep trouble because of the issue.

Democrat Natalie Tennant, running for the Senate, claims to oppose Obama – but refuses to say that, if elected, she would work to replace Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Reid has blocked attempts to rein in the EPA.

Meanwhile, Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., is the clear favorite of most voters for the Senate seat – because of her staunch opposition to the war on coal.

Despite what the top Democrats say, Mountain State residents are right to make coal and reasonable electricity rates a focus on elections for the Senate and House of Representatives. Pretending coal should not be the top issue in the race is mere partisan politics.

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