Marshall County commissioners are to be applauded for attempting to help the coal industry. Their plan is unlikely to work, however, for the reason hinted at by one of their own number.
Commissioners Don Mason, Jason Padlow and Brian Schambach agreed this week to work to convince a utility company to build an advanced power plant fueled by coal in Marshall County. Their idea is that if a new plant with air pollution control technology approved by the Environmental Protection Agency can be put on line, local coal can continue to be used.
Unless something similar to what commissioners envison happens, it is entirely likely every coal-fired power plant in the Ohio Valley will be closed down eventually, because of the war on coal mounted by the EPA and President Barack Obama. That would eliminate hundreds of local jobs, wreck the economies of both West Virginia and Ohio, and send electricity costs soaring.
Several coal-fired generating plants in our states already are scheduled to be closed, because of planned new EPA restrictions. Throughout the country, dozens of power plants are on the chopping block.
Most utilities being forced to shut down coal-fired generating stations are thinking of replacing them with plants fueled by natural gas, however. Advanced coal-fired plants are not being discussed.
There is a good reason for that. Commissioner Schambach alluded to it this week. He said employees of some local plants have told him new EPA regulations are constantly on the horizon, making it difficult for industry to remain competitive. "The EPA seems to be nitpicking at little things to put them out of business," Schambach added.
Precisely. Obama's administration is using several tactics to pursue its overall strategy of wrecking the coal industry. New air pollution regulations are just part of the war plan. Additional restrictions on coal ash and on surface mining also are part of the package.
Rest assured the utility industry is aware of this - and understands that no matter how advanced and "clean" a new coal-fired power plant is opened, the EPA eventually will find ways to come down hard on its owner.
Obama's preoccupation isn't to clean up the air. It is to shut down every coal mine in the United States. So, again, while Marshall County commissioners deserve praise for attempting to help the industry, theirs probably is a lost cause as long as Obama and the EPA are allowed to pursue their anti-coal agenda.