The fact President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency are attacking the coal industry on so many fronts ought to tell reasonable members of Congress something. Yet as the handwriting on the wall becomes larger and darker, some, including a few representing coal states, continue to support their political party's president.
The very scope of the Obama war against coal makes it obvious he is engaged in a vendetta. Consider the separate assaults the EPA is employing:
For sheer variety, the EPA's assault on coal is unparalleled. It is as if Obama had declared open season on the industry and invited the EPA to develop novel new weapons to kill it.
Some of Obama's defenders, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., insist the assault on coal is a good thing. Those who point out the devastation being caused in our state and others are alarmists, Obama's friends maintain.
Really? Dozens of coal-fired generating units already are scheduled to be closed because of the White House's war against coal. Mining companies are planning production cuts.
Just last week, industry giant Arch Coal Inc. announced it would lay off 750 miners in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia because of declining demand for coal. Consol Energy revealed miners' scheduled vacations at mines in Monongalia and Marion counties would be extended because of weak demand and "environmental regulatory pressures."
Obama is succeeding. But some insist that is not a bad thing. New gas-fired generating stations will provide power at reasonable prices, they claim.
Also last week, Mountaineer Gas, which serves customers in 48 West Virginia counties, sought Public Service Commission approval for an increase in rates. Gas prices will continue to accelerate as more power plants are switched over from coal.
A sort of conspiracy is in progress. The goal is to find ways, inventing concerns, if necessary, to destroy the coal industry. The cost to tens of millions of Americans is irrelevant to the conspirators.
And thanks in part to lawmakers such as Rockefeller, success is within the conspirators' grasp.