Dems in coal states diverge on Obama policies

They fault President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency for new clean air rules they deride as a devastating blow to a multibillion-dollar industry that has been the lifeblood of Appalachia for generations. The agency standards imposed earlier this year tightened limits on existing coal powered-plant emissions while guidelines on restricting greenhouse gases could affect new plants as early as 2013.
Associated Press
Oct 13, 2012


Along the rolling hills of this tiny Ohio town — population just over 5,100 — campaign signs for judges, state legislators and county officials crowd the neat lawns. As the road curves toward the interstate, one banner overshadows them all: "End the war on coal. Fire Obama."

Barb Swan, who runs Swan's Sport Shop on West Main Street, is a registered Democrat and daughter of a coal miner. She won't be voting for Obama and she won't back Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, whom she contends puts the president's energy policies over the interests of his constituents.

"If you have a district that's coal, you fight for coal," argued the 67-year-old Swan.

Obama's moves on clean air and fossil fuels have complicated the lives of Democrats in coal-rich states that count on mining for jobs and economic growth, with incumbents and candidates adopting drastically different strategies to ensure their own political survival.

In West Virginia, where the president is wildly unpopular, Sen. Joe Manchin boasts about his unyielding opposition to the EPA and his confrontations with the administration. In his latest campaign ad, Manchin — rifle in hand — alludes to a previous commercial in which he shoots Obama's bill to cap greenhouse gases from coal-burning power plants. The senator says the state has enough coal and natural gas to provide energy and jobs for decades, and "I'll take on anyone who tries to stop us."

In Republican-leaning Indiana, Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly ignored Obama's objections and embraced a House GOP bill to undo the EPA rules. In swing state Ohio, Brown espouses an all-of-the-above energy policy similar to Obama's and dismisses claims of a "war on coal" as Republican talking points.

The White House, for its part, insists that the criticism of its record on coal is unfounded.

"The president has made clear that coal has an important role to play in our energy economy today and it will in the future, which is why this administration has worked to make sure that moving forward we can continue to rely on a broad range of domestic energy sources from oil and gas, to wind and solar, to nuclear, as well as clean coal," said Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman.

The administration points to a 31 percent increase in coal exports and greater flexibility in enforcing the new standards. The economic prospects for coal, Stevens said, "reflect the independent, financial decisions that utilities are making in response to the increase in cheap, abundant natural gas."

Coal's woes do extend far beyond the new EPA rules.

Natural gas is plentiful, less expensive and more environmentally friendly. A rush is on in the same Appalachian towns where coal has been king to claim natural gas mineral rights in the region's Marcellus and Utica shale reserves. Out-of-town lawyers have descended upon the courthouse in the Belmont County seat to pour over decades-old deeds and titles, some dating to the late 1800s, as they figure out which families should get checks.

"The hallways are filled," said Kent Moore, the former Republican Party chairman in Belmont. "They're moving from one county to another."

In 2011, U.S. production of natural gas surpassed coal production for the first time in 20 years, according to the government's Energy Information Administration.

China's economic slowdown and the diminishing demand for the top-grade coal to make steel has affected coal in the eastern United States. Other countries, such as Brazil, are moving ahead with their production.

"It's a perfect storm of bad things that can happen," said Carol L. Raulston, a spokeswoman for the National Mining Association.

But listen to an Obama campaign ad on country radio in eastern Ohio, and coal and natural gas are doing just fine. The spot says coal production is up 7 percent and coal jobs have increased 10 percent during Obama's tenure. Natural gas production is at an all-time high.

His campaign contends that Obama would be better for coal than rival Mitt Romney, and the commercial highlights the Republican saying in 2003 that he wouldn't back a coal-fired plant "that kills people."

Romney accuses Obama of imposing regulations that would "bankrupt" the coal industry. He promises that the United States will become energy independent by 2020 through more aggressive exploitation of domestic oil, gas, coal and other natural resources. The Republican also vows to pursue measured reforms of environmental laws and regulations without impeding jobs or industries.

Anti-Obama commercials on the radio in Ohio use the president's 2008 remark that if someone wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can go ahead, but "it's just that it will bankrupt them." The tagline says "let's cap Obama and trade him for Mitt Romney."

The United Mine Workers of America, which endorsed Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Obama in 2008, has declined to back a presidential candidate this year, saying it doesn't see either Obama or Romney offering the best opportunities for its members.




"Natural gas is plentiful, less expensive and more environmentally friendly."
Electricity production is moving to natural gas. The EPA is a scape goat used by the anti-regulation crowd.

The Big Dog's back

More right wing propaganda. The Repubs exploit people like this.


Just like they exploit evangelicals for their money and votes. Republicans in Washington could care less about abortion.


Quite true, Buckeye. GOP politicians always campaign on an anti-abortion stance, then drop the issue Iike a hot potato once elected.


If they always drop it like a hot potato after they get elected..then why do *some people* always harp on it as one of the biggest reasons not to elect them?

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

☭Obama☭ doesn't own any coal stocks.


Just like the Hypocrite Dumacrats that fly around on their jets and limos!Talk about hypocrites,how about those Pro Life Catholics like,Biden,Kerry and Pelosi
and the biggest ever The Kennedys?


Flying limos ?


Bluto, clearly you are watching the wrong "news" sources if you haven't seen the democrappers' flying limos.


Does anyone think that the right wingers are more convincing because of their name-calling? When the beat you can do is to offer an ad hominem attack, it weakens your argument. Furthermore, unless these same folks wish to be viewed as hypocrites, I would hope that none of them will be accepting any Medicare coverage or Social Security checks, or unemployment checks in the future, since these programs were put in place by Progressives. Republicans, of course fought each of these vehemently when first enacted.


Coasterfan..wait, what? Are you saying that the Left-Wing is doing LESS name-calling? I watched the entire Biden/Ryan debate without any pre-conceptions about how it would go and what the outcome would be. Biden continually resorted to these ad hominem attacks you speak of. I suppose it may have all sounded very plausible to you, tho.

As to your comment about Medicare and Social Security, how is it hypocritical to use the program that they were forced to fund? It is just as simple as saying "I think this is a bad program but this is what you stuck me with." Nothing hypocritical there.
How is it a bad thing that Republicans, long ago, opposed programs that are now, as was predicted long ago, facing potential collapse?


Actually if you go back and look at the original legislation you will find that Republicans promoted SS and Unemployment checks. The Damocrats have used this in their own attacks against the Republicans for years. Like why would you want to change SS rules and Unemployment rights after you sponsered them and got them passed. Read your history.


When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. B. Obama
Have fun defending a guy who said from the start he would cripple their industry.


@ Randy: Is this a quote? Please supply a link or citation.


Yeah it is a quote from B.Obama
Or there is this Yeah they really really do not like coal.


Thank you.
I really don't like coal as an energy source either. Most of the anthracite has been mined. Our miners are taking bituminous now, which is less energy efficient. The cost of mining it has gone up like everything else, yet it produces less heat. To produce electricity more needs to be used.

Natural gas is more energy dense and burns cleaner. Right now it is also cheaper, so electricity producers are moving to natural gas as an energy source. This is why electricity prices for consumers have not increased as much as other energy sources.

Our capitalism Ponzi is funny like that.


Wait, what?


Obama does not like Nat-Gas either. He could not get full cap and trade so he is using the EPA to kill it as well. Give him more time and his EPA guys a free hand and you will see ALL energy skyrocket. He is side stepping congress once again with the EPA and people who live in energy producing areas will suffer. Obama spent 90 billion on "Green" energy 21 billion on failed programs yet spends nothing to clean up the energy that is readily avalible. I know if i lived in a coal producing area i sure would not vote for him.



I am wondering if you actually read the article you referenced in your post and the article referenced in your reference to support the first referenced article.

Neither support your statements.

It says that Solyndra defaulted on $528 million of Federal Stimulus money. Two other companies defaulted on their loans. “Beacon Power received $39 million in federal funds, with the government recovering all but $8 million of that. Abound Solar’s collapse will cost the taxpayers as much as $68 million. Together, the three failed companies cost the government about $575 million.”
“But, in creating the program, which has to date issued $34.5 billion in loans, Congress set aside $2.4 billion to cover losses, so the loan defaults are a relatively small proportion of the overall portfolio. These defaulted loans account for 24% of the amount set aside by Congress to cover losses. It also equals less than 2% of the $34.5 billion in loans that have actually been issued. This looks like a far cry from half that Romney claims.
“… the Solyndra grant process began under the George W. Bush administration, and it received bipartisan Congressional and lobbying support.”
These quotes come from the article referenced by Randy in his post and from the article referenced in the article referenced by Randy.


The point was everything was given to the "Green" Industry and nothing done to help the fossil fuel industry. They have been penalized for the industry they are in and instead of the gov helping to improve they are piling more regulations on them while funneling money to camapign donors who anyone who reads anything already knows cannot compete with china. The penaltys will be passed onto the consumer *Us* as the admin does not like fossil fuels. Where is our bailout?


Really Randy? Really? Nothing was done to help the fossil fuel industry? Maybe you should research that. Here is a little perspective from a conservative publication:


I should have clarified it. The same industrys he has vowed to bankrupt and the purpose of this page. Namely Coal and natural Gas. Will you be so happy when over half your paycheck is paying for electricity and the other half buying electricity for others who get vouchers?



Today’s awards are part of a more than $5 billion investment strategy by the Obama Administration in clean coal technologies and R&D. This strategy, which has attracted over $10 billion in additional private capital investment, is designed to accelerate commercial deployment of clean coal technologies – particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS) – and to position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race.


Why would an old well financed industry, like petroleum need subsidies? They are very profitable and had they done the R & D, and updated their processes over time, instead of paying for lobbyists, we wouldn't be listening to them whine.

Furthermore, why do we want to compete with China's environmental issues?


Why does this not surprise me (that an Obama supporter doesn't yet know, after almost 4 years, everything their candidate is doing)?


Oh, don't do that. Conservatives don't like it when they're asked to provide independent verification for anything.

The New World Czar

Brown's dislike for heavy industry isn't new. He helped chase an asphalt plant out of Lorain over a decade ago, not that anyone would want to report it.


Not to worry about coal; the Chinese will buy it for their manufacturers.

The Employment Prevention Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 and the decades long decline of U.S. heavy manufacturing can be directly correlated.

Sen. Brown majored in Russian studies; his knowledge of Bolshevism helped to teach him how to destroy capitalism and lead the U.S. toward socialism.


Are you serious? Why is it that everyone who doesn't agree with Tea Party ideals is a Socialist (if they are a Democrat) or RINO if they are a Republican? Socialist, of course, is Tea-Party-speak for Communist, which is funny, because most of them couldn't tell you the Difference between the two. Why is it that those on the extreme fringe of reality (tea party folks) and extreme fringe of society are so blissfully unaware that they are on the fringe?


How is socialism "Tea Party speak" for communism? Cite an example where someone in the Tea Party spoke of the definition of communism and labeled it as socialism. No credibility can be given until then.
I find that last part disingenuous. One might question, in a mostly dumbed-down and desensitized society, the qualifiers for being labeled fringe nowadays.


So, let me make sure that I understand your statement. You are blaming the EPA for manufacturers moving production to China? And labor cost have no bearing?



The Obama Admin. relaxed pollution regs. so that a private equity firm would buy a Philadelphia refinery that was scheduled for closing.

It doesn't look good for gas prices to rise when he wants so bad to be re-elected.

Hope and Change has become: CASH & PRIZES.


I just bought gas in Toledo today for $3.34, which would be the lowest in many months for me. Unemployment went down in September by a whopping 3/10 of a percent, even though more people joined the work force. Very very amusing hearing Republicans trying to spin obvious GOOD news into something that will help Romney. Good luck with that.

Darwin's choice

So, thinking back, did you ever consider being happy to "only" pay $3.34 for a gallon of gas? Isn't it great!


@ eriemom:

Nat-gas is only "cheaper" due to fracking, which the enviro-nuts want to stop.

Hypocrisy or just plain ignorance?

Canada has over 400 gas and oil wells in and around Lake Erie. They have been drilling for 50 yrs.

Why isn't OH drilling while providing jobs and tax revenue????


Keep writing the same misleading statements Smith. I have already corrected you. Just because you keep writing it doen't make it any truer.


@ DGMutley:

Based on the 2010 U.S. Census; OH IS becoming a "wasteland". People are leaving looking for employment opportunities elsewhere.

Get into the present: Fracking in 2012 is NOT your grandfather's fracking. There are many environmental controls.

So are Ontario and PA becoming "wastelands"?????


Oh Winnie, go frack yourself! lol!


WOW, LOTS of Divergence here!


There is a lot of convergence here too. It's just that some are trying to make a political statement from untrue rhetoric.


Untrue rhetoric?
Obama said it, Now its happening. How is it untrue?

The Big Dog's back

Typical Repub, measures everything in dollars and cents. If you die from air pollution and water pollution, dollars and cents don't mean squat.


Big dog
Thats interesting, When commoditys get too much to afford can you grow a garden or hunt for your food or will you rely on bread lines and gov handouts till they too disappear from lack of funding? I am sure you will starve long before i freeze or strangle from the lack of enviorment.

Don S

There is a plan in place that the energy companies don't want the public to know. Natural Gas will be the bridge fuel to the hydrogen fuel systems of the future. But to get to the hydrogen future, 'clean' coal, nucular, solar, and wind power will be used. Clean coal means, that the coal emmitions will have to be cleaned to EPA requirments. EPA regulations have been fought against by the coal and energy companys, as being too costly. So some of the problems have to be their responsability and work with the EPA to solve them. Why don't the coal industry find a way to turn coal into a cleaner form of energy, like liquify it as the Germans did in WW II. Oh, I'm sorry, that would take profits out of coal CEO's pockets. So, get used to it, that hydrogen is going to be the energy source in the future, but it will take natural gas, as a bridge fuel to get there.


Harnessing Electromagnetism is the future. Electromagnetism is the dominant force throughout the Universe. Electromagnetism is the only way to a Free Energy society (and world).
Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Oil, "Clean Coal," Hydrogen, etc. etc..all zero sum games.

Nikola Tesla: "Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature."


To all you liberal subscribers to the Global Warming hoax. A new study has come out that shows global warming actually ended almost 16 yrs ago in 1997 and for the 40 yrs prior to the period that we supposedly had global warming, 1980-1996, temperature had been stable or declining. Sort of lets the air of your balloon, huh?


Seriously dude? Trusting the Daily Mail to interpret info from Judith Curry is like trusting your kids with Jerry Sandusky. Get real.


Really dude? Shall I post the 20 or so other sites that show the same data? Just because liberals have trouble interpreting complex science data, doesn't mean the rest of us do. Instead of looking at who presented the data, just look at the data itself. Or is your peabrain to small to wrap itself around it? By the way this data was collected by the British government.


Yes, could you please post more? This tiny little liberal peabrain needs to see lots and lots of flawed information to finally believe it.


Your information is correct on glo bal warming. You have to excuse a certain group for not believing the truth, after all, all they have heard for the last four years is lies. They can't even get the name-calling correct. There is no plan for the future and not a positive record in the past. INJEST THIS, I hated Bush but now I am spending over $200.00 in gas than when Bush was in office. So if I am to assume that Bush was a rich Texas oil TYCOON, what am I to assume about O'Bama? Rich Arab Oil Tycoon?


Should be changed new one so will save natural things..
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You Log Cabin Republicans need to calm down.


Now its proved by the US people so need to discuss more on this issue and Obama will do best again.


He did wrong comment on Obama and he proved that he can handle the American carefully and help to give jobs in coming years.
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Many opposite's are always try to show weakness and his issue but people also know very well about all these events.
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Great work in America.Indian political leader should learn many good things from American but they are busy in doing corruption in all sector.
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