The Times West Virginian

November 18, 2012

Concerns for coal

Regulations, weak demand among industry’s main battles

By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — As America has waged war in foreign countries, she has also pitched her battle lines in the yards and along the highways of coal country.

Seemingly overnight, signs blasting the phrase “Stop the War on Coal” popped up across Marion County, West Virginia and in neighboring coal-producing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The solution, these signs said, was to “Fire Obama.” But with the election behind us and the president elected to a second term, does that mean the alleged “War on Coal” will continue unabated?

Like most political questions, it depends on how we work to answer it.

In order to answer the question, we have to start by looking at what the “War on Coal” is. The movement is murky; though millions of dollars have been poured by various coal industry groups into messaging, there’s no clear leader or spokesman leading the charge.

However, politicians from both sides of the aisle from states and districts where coal accounts for a significant portion of their constituency’s livelihoods have come forward to blast the administration’s “war on coal.”

Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, writing for the congressional newspaper The Hill, proclaimed that “President Obama’s war on coal is real,” citing recent mine closures and tightening Environmental Protection Agency regulations as proof of the president’s and his administration’s animosity toward the coal industry.


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