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Fighting For W.Va., Ohio

June 22, 2012
The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to proceed with its "Utility MACT" rule, as many as 1.3 million jobs will be lost throughout the United States, Sen. Joe Manchin pointed out Wednesday before voting in favor of a resolution to thwart the EPA. The rule will cost the U.S. economy as much as $275 billion during the next 25 years, Manchin, D-W.Va., added.

Despite pleas by Manchin and others who understand virtually every American will pay a high price for not stopping President Barack Obama's war against coal, the resolution was rejected by a vote of 53-46. Had just four senators voted "yea" instead of "nay," the measure would have been approved.

Two who should have voted in favor -but did not - are Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Both of their states depend heavily on jobs in or related to mining. Both states rely heavily on relatively inexpensive power generated by burning coal.

Yet both Rockefeller and Brown, along with others such as Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa., who owed their constituents more, voted to allow the EPA to implement new rules that will affect not just the coal and electric power industries, but others including aluminum smelters.

Incredible as it sounds, Rockefeller insisted he was doing the right thing for West Virginia coal miners. How is supporting an Obama agenda that already is shutting down coal mines and power plants supporting miners? How is it supporting tens of millions of Americans whose electric bills will increase when utilities switch from coal to gas-fired plants?

Manchin is right. Enough is enough, as he pointed out in his speech on the Senate floor. But while Manchin, in his own words, has been "determined to stop the EPA's job-killing agenda," others support the agency at virtually every turn. Rockefeller and Brown are among that group of Democrats so committed to their party and their president that they have forgotten who sent them to Washington.

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