If West Virginia's Democrat leadership expected President Barack Obama to take a break from anti-coal actions during the 2014 election season, they must be sorely disappointed.
The news hit like a ton of coal this morning. Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules governing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Power plants will be expected to reduce their emissions by 30 percent by 2030. StateS will need to come up with plans to meet these new goals.
This is very bad news for Democrats running for federal offices in West Virginia. They all endorsed Obama during the 2008 and 2012 presidential races, openly supporting a man who said he wanted to bankrupt the coal-powered electrical industry while on the campaign trail.
Nick Casey, the former Democrat Party Chairman during Obama's first run, openly endorsed the President and worked to raise support for his policies. He is now running for the 2nd congressional district against Republican Alex Mooney.
Natalie Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, also openly campaigned for Obama in 2008 and 2012, even attending the Democrat National Convention in 2012 as an Obama delegate. She is running for U.S. Senate against Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.
3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall is running to keep his seat against Republican state Senator Evan Jenkins. In an effort to distance himself from his support of Obama, Rahall said he supported the policies of George W. Bush more than Obama. Politifact said that was a lie. Even U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, not up for re-election, can't escape from his 2008 DNC floor speech espousing the virtues of Obama.
Several of these same candidates, as well as other Democrat Party officials and lobbyists, traveled to Washington, D.C. in November of 2013 to meet with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. In this meeting, they invited her to West Virginia to discuss EPA impacts on coal mining, as well as to get her to schedule a listening session here. Apparently the open support for her boss by Tennant, Casey, Manchin, and Rahall didn't open any doors at the White House.
West Virginia stands to be hurt the most from these new regs, as states will have to meet certain goals. More than 95 percent of West Virginia's electric comes from coal-fired power plants. As West Virginia is the second largest coal producer in the nation, the demand for our coal will decrease. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the new regs will costs the U.S. $1 billion per year due to job losses and other impacts.
Instead of giving Democrats another chance to represent West Virginia in Congress, it's time to send a solidly-red Republican delegation to represent the people.