Coal miners and Americans who worry about higher prices for electricity are not the only people being targeted by President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency. Poultry producers also are on the agency's hit list, and that could hurt West Virginia's eastern counties severely.
West Virginia is among the nation's leading producers of broiler chickens and turkeys, but that may not last long if the EPA has its way. The agency is attempting to enforce strict new water quality regulations on some operators of big poultry operations.
That is necessary to safeguard water quality in Chesapeake Bay, the agency insists - and it is attempting to isolate and conquer opponents of the plan.
One of them, Hardy County chicken producer Lois Alt, has sued the EPA in an attempt to keep it from enforcing new rules. The American Farm Bureau and its West Virginia affiliate are seeking permission to intervene in the federal court case.
But EPA officials are arguing Alt ought to be forced to fight the case without Farm Bureau help. The agency's contention is the case has ramifications only for Alt, not for other poultry producers.
That is absurd. The EPA's expressed concern about Alt's operation could pertain to dozens of other chicken and turkey producers.
About what is the agency afraid? That its divide-and-conquer strategy toward targets of its regulatory excess may be thwarted? Is it afraid of facts the Farm Bureau may present in court?
Those wishing to help Alt in her case should be allowed to intervene in it, simply to ensure justice is done.