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Getting Energy Message Out

In today’s political climate, no one can get the word out like Donald Trump. The threat posed by his opponent for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, to affordable energy is something to which he should be alerting Americans.

Trump, the Republican contender for president, was preaching to the choir when he appeared in our area yesterday. Reportedly, energy policy — specifically relating to coal — was one of his topics during a private fundraising event at WesBanco Arena.

While Democrat Clinton promises that if she is elected president, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Trump has pledged to put miners back to work.

Thousands have lost their jobs because of President Barack Obama’s war on coal and affordable electricity. Clinton has said she will intensify his campaign.

How has Obama’s initiative affected Americans other than those in areas like ours that rely on coal in many ways?

Electricity prices have gone up as utilities close coal-fired power plants and switch to other fuels. When Obama took office in 2009, the average residential price of electricity in the United States was 10.98 cents per kilowatt hour. In April, the last month for which the Energy Information Administration had figures, the cost had gone up to 12.43 cents.

For an average residential user of electricity, as defined by the EIA, that has meant $158.52 a year in higher electric bills.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, because Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has just begun enforcing anti-coal regulations. Once they kick in fully, many Americans will find their power bills up by $1,000 or more a year.

But Obama and Clinton have managed to focus the debate not on electricity prices but on coal miners’ jobs. While we West Virginians and Ohioans care a great deal about that, most Americans do not.

They do worry about how much they will pay for electricity, oil and natural gas — prices for which will rise substantially if Clinton is elected president. And they do care about jobs killed by radical environmental policies — as happened not long ago in the Ohio Valley when the Ormet plant at Hannibal closed, wiping about 1,000 good jobs off the local map.

Good for Trump for standing up for coal miners. And good for him for being concerned about coal-reliant states such as ours.

Now, for the good of tens of millions of other Americans, he needs to get the message out to them.


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