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Defending West Virginia Against Biden ‘Overreach’

Our nation should generally hope for the success of its leaders — not for the individual’s sake, but for the good of the country — and to that end, I agree that we should give new officeholders a chance.

But what should a state leader do when the new president, one whose policies already cause great concern, preaches unity and moments later opts for sheer divisiveness with his first strokes of a pen?

It’s simple.

You should take note and prepare to defend West Virginia and America.

I intend to do just that.

After just weeks in office, President Joe Biden has issued dozens of executive actions to push his radical agenda.

Recommitting our nation to the draconian measures of the Paris Climate Accord will harm the economy and our citizens.

Achieving the goals of having a clean environment and bright future for the next generation can be done without a one-sided deal that puts Americans last.

The 46th president is also taking a wrecking ball to many of the states that have oil, gas, coal and manufacturing jobs — like West Virginia.

Shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline was a devastating blow that impacts roughly 11,000 jobs nationwide.

Such measures cause great concern in West Virginia.

Consider, our state has ranked fifth nationwide in total energy production.

We were the second-largest coal producer in the country in 2019, accounting for 13 percent of total coal production in the nation.

But this isn’t just about coal, gas and renewable energy — the future of America hangs in the balance.

Oil, gas and manufacturing jobs allow families to put food on the table and clothing on their backs.

To say these jobs aren’t important, or that these workers can work elsewhere or go into other types of employment, is an insult.

New jobs won’t just come at the snap of a finger.

Biden’s embrace of the Green New Deal continues a years-long push by our opponents to expand the authority and power of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Does this sound familiar?

Our office successfully fought such federal overreach during former President Barack Obama’s time in office, but now, after the victories won under former President Donald Trump’s administration, we are dealing with the Obama administration on steroids in Biden.

As you may recall, our leadership of a large, bipartisan coalition blocked the Obama administration’s signature, climate change initiative — the so-called Clean Power Plan.

We have defended pipeliners and union workers with key victories at the U.S. Supreme Court related to the Keystone XL and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

We also have successfully fought for farmers and property owners in blocking the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule, which would have given the government authority over bodies of water from drainage ditches to ephemeral streams.

Now we face Obama 2.0 and then some.

We have already set the guideposts for the White House.

Our office led a six-state letter that sought to warn President Biden that our team will be vigilant in watching for and opposing federal overreach, especially when such action puts jobs and civil liberties at risk.

It’s not a threat; we know that litigation should only be a last resort, but the letter should serve notice that we take the rule of law seriously.

State attorneys general across the country stand as the last line of defense.

Otherwise, the radical agenda that we are prepared to oppose will disproportionately harm West Virginia and our partner states.

Take heart.

We will continue to watch the president closely and in doing so defend America so West Virginia and our country can reach their full potential.

Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, is the attorney general of West Virginia.

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