U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials sprang a terrible Christmas "present" on West Virginians, Ohioans and tens of other Americans. In mid-December the agency - merely doing the bidding of its boss, President Barack Obama - announced drastic new regulations aimed primarily at industries such as coal-fired power plants.
Enforcement of the regulations is a big step in Obama's war on coal. One estimate is the EPA's new rules will force utility companies to close at least 32 power plants. Among them would be the Kammer Plant near Moundsville.
A conservative estimate of the number of U.S. households that will be affected by the rules is 22 million. Tens of millions more probably will be affected indirectly.
Obama's goal, in which top EPA officials and liberals in Congress cooperate enthusiastically, is to wreck the coal industry. As we have pointed out, eliminating relatively low-priced electricity generated from coal will put many industries in this region at a competitive disadvantage against those elsewhere. That may well be part of the liberals' strategy.
One especially outrageous aspect of the rules - but, ironically, one cause for hope - is that they are the EPA's attempt to overrule Congress. Even under Democrat domination of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Obama administration's "cap and trade" proposal was rejected. His response was to tell the EPA to plow ahead without lawmakers' approval.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., have co-sponsored a bill that would block the EPA, at least temporarily. It would enforce a two-year moratorium on many of the new rules.
Manchin and Coats should receive bipartisan support in both the Senate and House. This time the EPA and Obama have gone too far, attempting to wreck a critical segment of the U.S. industrial economy at a time when job creation ought to be the top priority in Washington. The bill should be approved - with a veto-proof majority - as soon as possible.