Support Local Coal Industry

All three West Virginia members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the “Stop the War on Coal Act” last week. So did two House members representing East Ohio.

A wide-ranging bill aimed at thwarting President Barack Obama’s attempt to wreck the coal industry and force electricity prices higher, the act passed the House by a 233-175 vote. In all likelihood it will go no farther than that, however.

As Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who sponsored the bill, noted, the Senate probably will not take any action on the bill soon. And when it does, the measure is not expected to be received favorably. Liberals in the Senate, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will either shelve the act or vote it down.

One reason why that is the probable outcome is that some coal-state senators have supported Obama, rather than their constituents, in the war against coal.

Both Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have been staunch supporters of coal. Both Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have been lukewarm at best in defending the coal industry. At some points both senators have made it clear they agree with the White House’s anti-coal initiatives.

Rockefeller is not up for reelection until 2014, but Brown is on the ballot this fall. His opponent, Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, has made his unflinching support for the coal industry clear.

Tens of millions of Americans will suffer if Obama is allowed to continue his assault on the coal industry. Most probably are not aware of the consequences of the president’s vendetta. They do not understand their electric bills will go up by hundreds of dollars a year if utilities proceed with plans to shut down dozens of coal-fired power plants.

Because some industries rely heavily on reasonably priced electricity from coal-fired generating stations, Obama’s plan will be a major job killer. Right here in the Ohio Valley, the Ormet Corp. in Monroe County plans massive layoffs because of higher prices for power.

Rockefeller and Brown should support the people who sent them to Washington. Instead they back their party’s leader, Obama. If that doesn’t change soon, voters should move forward with changes in who represents us in the U.S. Senate.