No wonder President Barack Obama and fellow radical environmentalists have been emboldened to open new fronts in their war against coal. When senators from states that rely directly or indirectly on coal can be counted upon to support the campaign, the White House has every reason to be confident.
And when party loyalty trumps concern for constituents among most Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency can feel perfectly secure.
A resolution authored by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., was intended to force the EPA to back away from yet another battle front in its war on coal. The agency plans to implement new limits on air emissions of mercury and other toxins, which already are controlled strictly. Coal-fired power plants are among the EPA's chief targets.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointed out the new rules, if allowed to proceed, will be exceedingly expensive in many ways. In Kentucky alone, the EPA plan "threatens the jobs of over 1,400 people working in aluminum smelter plants as well as approximately 18,000 coal miners, not to mention those engaged in industries that support these jobs," McConnell said in a speech to the Senate.
Inhofe's resolution would not have stopped the Obama war against coal. The EPA is employing too many other weapons against the industry. Approval of the resolution would merely have slowed the massive assault.
But the Senate could not manage even that. The resolution was defeated by a vote of 53-46.
Two coal-state senators, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, supported Inhofe - and their constituents - by voting in favor of the measure.
But Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, voted against the resolution.
Rockefeller actually insisted criticism of the EPA is part of a campaign of scare tactics by the coal industry.
Well, as Rockefeller and Brown are well aware, there is plenty about which to be scared. Many electric companies already have announced plans to close coal-fired generating stations, replacing them with natural gas-fueled facilities - because of the EPA campaign.
Manchin was one of just five Democrat senators to vote for the Inhofe resolution. That shows the power Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Obama have over lawmakers in their party.
As the balance of power stands, senators such as Manchin and Portman are engaged in a losing battle, even if they are fighting the good fight for their constituents.
While senators such as Rockefeller and Brown march to the Obama-Reid drumbeat, there is no reason to hope the war against coal will end.