HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  Manchin Gives Obama a Free Pass on West Virginia Coal

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is playing a very cynical game with his own constituents.  Like many politicians, he longs to get credit from us by touting symbolic gestures that actually have very little meaning.  But only a risky player would try to play this game with a crucial state industry, even as he stands idly by, letting others undercut it on a regular basis.  Yet that is exactly what Manchin is doing with West Virginia's coal industry.

Today, the Associated Press story has a prime example of this play acting.  Manchin reacted to comments by Michigan Congressman John Conyers, a fellow Democrat, when Conyers suggested that West Virginia miners look for different kinds of work.  Like his Uncle A. James Manchin before him, Manchin relishes the role of finding insults against "Mother West Virginia" so that he can play the hero.  It's a very old and tired trick, where the huckster offers sympathy to the public--after using something to rile them up.

But let's say that Manchin was sincere with this incident.  His invitation to Congressman Conyers to visit West Virginia and to see the merits of coal mining to the nation's energy portfolio might be seen as a decent challenge to his fellow lawmaker.

Only one problem exists with this scenario: Conyers isn't the real problem when it comes to coal mining in West Virginia.  He's one Congressman out of 435.  What Conyers thinks of us is of little consequence beyond a few liberal Democrats who probably already have their minds made up about coal mining.

No, the real opponent to coal mining is the man who appointed the top administrators of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission seems to be closing coal-fueled power plants--four more in just the past week.  Despite coal supplying half of the country's energy, this anti-coal activist--Barack Obama--is hellbent on making good on his campaign promises to finish off the coal industry on his watch.

What Obama will substitute for the coal that constitutes nearly half of America's electricity is unknown.  Get ready for rolling blackouts, which could cause havoc in our schools, hospitals, and assisted living facilities--and higher electricity bills for everybody, including those on fixed incomes.

Ask anyone involved with coal these days, and you'll hear that Barack Obama is the biggest hindrance to their industry in recent history.  He's made no bones about it in his last campaign: he doesn't like it, sees no need for it, and if the 100,000 Americans directly involved in its production and another 300,000 indirectly involved lose their jobs, well, the Obama Administration's attitude appears to be, "So be it."  Tens of thousands of those jobs are in West Virginia.

So Manchin picks on a single Congressman from Michigan when he pops off with an anti-coal remark.  But why doesn't Manchin take on the real threat: the big man in the White House, whose EPA is making it nearly impossible for West Virginia miners to have work without new mining permits?

Obviously, the permitting process should have basic safeguards for the environment.  But modern mining companies take that into account.  These aren't permits that are a real threat to the environment at all.  Rather, they appear to be a threat only to Obama's very leftwing, absolutist agenda where coal is no longer even a part of the nation's energy profile.  When was the last time Manchin took on Obama instead Conyers when it comes to West Virginia coal?

The truth is, Manchin rarely takes on Obama--on coal or anything else. Have you noticed?