At one time before he became president, Barack Obama insisted his strategy against the coal industry was to make it so expensive to burn the fuel for power generation that no one would want to do so. Apparently, that wasn't enough for Obama and his liberal allies.
Now they want to make it impossible to burn coal at any price.
Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to put the electric utility industry into a Catch-22 situation: New limits on emissions can be met by using carbon sequestration equipment, the agency insists. The catch is that economically feasible carbon sequestration technology doesn't exist.
EPA analysts are on record admitting the agency "does not believe that at this time (carbon capture) will be a technically feasible option." EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson predicts the technology will be available "within the next 10 years."
Power company executives really don't have a choice. They can plan to build coal-fired generating stations that cannot meet the EPA's requirements, or they can abandon coal and turn to natural gas as a fuel. It is no surprise dozens of coal-fired power plants already are scheduled to be closed.
Of course, that will increase electric bills for tens of millions of Americans - including some businesses that simply will not be able to pay the higher prices. Among the first casualties, as readers of this newspaper know, may be the Ormet aluminum plant in Monroe County.
Gas companies already are benefitting from an anticipated surge in demand. Just six months ago, gas was selling for about $2 per thousand cubic feet. By last Wednesday the price on spot markets already was up to $3.19 per mcf.
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., has introduced a bill that would force the EPA to back away from its new carbon limits, until carbon capture technology becomes commercially feasible. So obvious is the need for such legislation that five House Democrats joined McKinley to co-sponsor it.
The bill should be approved in the House of Representatives. But in the Senate, where some lawmakers continue to support Obama rather than their constituents, the outlook is less clear.
Let us be clear: The McKinley bill is so important that all four West Virginia and Ohio senators - Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio - should vote for it. If they do not, they will be abandoning not just their constituents, but tens of millions of other Americans.