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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

West Virginia, Where His Name Is Dirtier Than Coal

Well, Obama has met one of his many promises.  He has brought people together.  Fostered consensus.  Achieved unanimity.

The state of West Virginia - Democrats and Republicans alike - is united.

In its opposition to Barack Obama's reelection.
West Virginia Dems unload on Obama EPA over new coal layoffs
By Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times

West Virginia Democrats are “outraged” with President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, which has now cost the jobs of nearly 150 coal miners in the state.

Energy giant Consol announced Tuesday that it will idle its surface mining operations in Mingo County after failing to secure necessary Clean Water Act permits from the EPA.

The Miller Creek surface mine facility has been in operation for decades, and the company had planned to construct the new “King Coal Highway” as part of a reclamation project after mining is complete. Coal mine employees, Consol said, would eventually have been assigned to the highway project, once the coal supplies had been exhausted.

Democrats in the state, already angry with the administration’s “war on coal,” unloaded on the EPA on Tuesday afternoon.

“I am incensed and infuriated that the EPA would intentionally delay the needed permit for a public-private project that would bring so many good jobs and valuable infrastructure to communities that so desperately need them,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement.

Mr. Manchin has been one of the loudest critics of Mr. Obama’s environmental policy. He skipped this year’s Democratic convention, and, in one of his campaign commercials, literally shot a hole through the controversial cap-and-trade bill.

“This project is a win-win and the EPA is trying to make it a loser,” he continued. Mingo County officials have estimated that the mine and King Coal Highway projects could over the next 15 years created as many as 2,500 new jobs and supported the development of about 2,000 acres of land.

Consol President Nicholas J. DeIuliis said in a statement Tuesday that the company has been working to secure the necessary environmental permits since 2007, with no success.

“Once again, the EPA has stepped in the way of a great project here in West Virginia,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, said Tuesday in a joint statement with fellow Democrats Mr. Manchin, Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall. “The EPA cannot seem to understand the big picture and the true scope of its authority.”

The quartet of state Democrats pledged to fight the EPA and try to get the Miller Creek mines back up and running and the highway project moving forward.

“I will continue to work with our senators and our governor as we present a united front in an effort to knock some common sense into EPA,” Mr. Rahall said.

Consol’s layoffs come on the heels of similar moves across Appalachia, and growing anger in that region toward the “war on coal,” a term appearing on lawn signs, billboards, bumper stickers and T-shirts throughout the region. [link]
Obama may have won the battle. But he's ultimately going to lose his war on coal.

Take it to the bank.