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One promise Obama is keeping: hurting the coal industry

As Mitt Romney continues to talk about President Obama’s hostility toward job creators and the negative impact his policies have had on the economy, the New York Times wrote a front page piece on the travails of America’s coal industry. Even with control of the House of Representatives and a supermajority in the Senate, Obama couldn’t get his extreme economy-killing “Cap and Trade” bill through Congress, so he is going through the back door, abusing executive authority and using the EPA to create new regulations aimed at crushing coal. The article details how the new regulations are hurting entire communities that depend on the coal industry for their jobs and livelihoods.

The decline of the coal industry, reports the Times, stems largely from:

new pollution rules [that] have made coal plants more costly, while a surge in production of natural gas through the process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, has sent gas prices plummeting.”

As we have discussed regarding Governor Kasich’s proposals, we welcome the new technologies and opportunities from the coming shale gas boom. But what’s significant here is that the Obama Administration’s war on coal is having a devastating effect on the industry and on the lives of thousands upon thousands of people who work in the industry.

As this map shows, the successful development of our coal resources affects us all. More than half of U.S. states have coal resources, and an even larger share relies on coal to generate electricity:

This map shows what the effect will be by state, and guess which state stands to lose the most generating capacity? You guessed it, all of us here in Ohio.

Here in Ohio, a full 82% of our electricity comes from coal. It’s plentiful, it’s cheap and it provides many many thousands of jobs. Yet, the President of the United States wants to kill it. His plan is already working, as evidenced in January by the announcement from Akron’s FirstEnergy that they will be closing six of their plants, four of them in Ohio, due to the new regulations.

The effect of Barack Obama’s policies on the coal industry should not be surprising. Back in 2008, after all, Barack Obama told America of his plan to bankrupt the coal industry and how it would work.

“If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

So much for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. At today’s New York Times report makes plain, bankrupting coal appears to be one promise the President is keeping.

Fortunately, Mitt Romney realizes that America, and Ohio, are blessed with extraordinary reserves of coal, and that both its extraction and use for power generation constitute valuable U.S. industries that support countless jobs and provide affordable energy to the larger economy. President Romney will pursue policies that protect the environment while also ensuring that coal remains an important part of America’s energy portfolio.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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