EDITORIAL: Will Manchin Let Obama Pursue Cap and Trade Through Regulation?

HNN Staff
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

To say the least, this is not your father's Democratic Party, West Virginia. And what the Obama Administration can't get through legislation they strive hard to achieve through administrative regulation. As a result,  fears about Cap and Trade and other "green energy" initiatives have not gone away.

At the state level, the good news is that John Raese's concerns about Cap and Trade have taken root in a strong, bipartisan phalanx of concerned members of the West Virginia House of Delegates.  Upwards of 35 core delegates have been pushing hard for repeal of the now infamous House Bill 103, a "green energy" bill pushed hard by Governor Joe Manchin.   Many statehouse insiders say that Manchin pushed this bill through because he wanted to impress national Democrats like Barack Obama--even at the risk of West Virginia voters and businesses having to pay considerably higher electricity bills due to the limitation on coal usage.

Manchin's bill mandated that, by 2025, fully 25% of electricity sold in West Virginia would have to be from alternative or renewable energy facilities.  That's a huge chunk of our state's energy portfolio, starting in 2010 with at least ten percent of our electrical energy being generated by "alternative or renewable energy resources."

Yet Manchin later flip-flopped on his fondness for Cap and Trade when John Raese's campaign challenged the Governor on House Bill 103.  In fact, Manchin even ran a TV ad showing him shooting a federal Cap and Trade bill similar to his own bill in West Virginia, just to assure his conservative Democrats that he was still one of them.

While West Virginia voters were willing to give Manchin the benefit of the doubt in 2010, what about now, two years into an Obama Presidency which Manchin supports 85% of the time?  While Manchin may try to suggest that he is independent of Obama, no one doubts that he is a very loyal footsoldier to a Democratic President, who appears hellbent on producing other job-killing regulations.

A recent study by the Heritage Foundation indicates that the Obama Administration has produced--are you sitting down--10,215 new federal regulations in just the past two years.  These regulations are costing  consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole $46 billion annually. To add insult to injury, simply implementing these thousands of regulations had a one-time additional cost of $11 billion.  This, in an age of intense worry about the federal debt.  

Joe Manchin has been in the U.S. Senate for over a year now.  Manchin loves press releases and press conferences, but we can't remember a concerted effort from him attacking the kind of intrusive, government regulation into the private sector that his friend, Mr. Obama, has pursued.  Whether with many of our own legislators' remaining concerns on Cap and Trade or legitimate concerns regarding other new anti-business regulations, West Virginians have cause to ask how Manchin feels about the anti-business direction of the Obama Administration.

After all, we saw with his early vote for one of the most anti-small business pieces of legislation to come down the pike, Obamacare.

John Raese has a favorite phrase that may come back into vogue in 2012.  "I don't listen to what Joe says, I just watch what he DOES."   President Obama has tied up West Virginia's energy resources more than any other administration in American history.  The Obama Administration has produced over 10,000 new federal regulations in just two years, many of them job killers, especially in West Virginia's energy industries.

And Joe Manchin still supports the President 85% of the time?  Small business owners and all electricity users are within their rights to ask whose side Manchin is on.


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