Back in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama outlined his plan to wreck the coal industry and drive electricity prices up. "If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can," he said, adding, "It's just that it will bankrupt them."
Now Obama is president and he is keeping his promise. West Virginians have concrete evidence of that.
On Friday, officials of a new coal-fired power plant near Morgantown said they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"Construction failures and defects" at the Longview power plant have kept it from operating efficiently, the company said in explaining its decision to file for bankruptcy protection.
Some of those challenges may have stemmed from the enormous amount of money spent to bring the plant into compliance with air pollution regulations. About $500 million of the facility's $2 billion cost was spent for that purpose.
Forcing utilities to spend enormous sums to comply with Environmental Protection Rules was part of his strategy, Obama said in 2008.
Longview Power LLC officials insist the bankruptcy will not affect power supplies or employment at the plant and associated coal mines. Let's hope not. Hundreds of jobs rely on the plant itself and the mines that supply it.
More information about precisely why Longview filed for bankruptcy protection will come out in court. Again, however, that enormous expenditure to meet EPA rules cannot have been helpful. And, of course, the added complexity of environmental controls adds to the possibility of construction failures and defects.
Obama said he'd bankrupt anyone trying to generate electricity at a coal-fired power plant. At least he keeps some promises.