Vulnerable Democratic candidates and lawmakers are distancing themselves from President Obama’s new regulations on power plant emissions that will harm the coal industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced carbon dioxide emissions limits for existing power plants which the agency says will force the retirement of coal-fired power plants, lower coal production and raise electricity prices.
For some Democrats, shuttered coal plants and higher energy prices means more than just economic hardship for their state — it means they might be voted out of office.
“This is an unprecedented use of the Clean Air Act to wage war on an entire industry,” said West Virginia Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall. “Rather than requiring individual plants to meet pollution control standards by installing pollution controls, EPA is now interpreting the law to give it the ability to set standards across fleets of coal-fired power plants, seeking to make reductions in a nebulous fashion.”
Rahall is facing a tough reelection in West Virginia, the country’s second-largest coal producing state. The Republican Party has been attacking Rahall over his past support for Obamacare and have been trying to tie him to Obama’s anti-coal agenda.
“Nick Rahall talks tough now, but for years he’s backed the president’s War on Coal and voted to give EPA the power and money to develop reckless regulations like these that destroy West Virginia jobs and send electricity rates skyrocketing,” said Republican House candidate Evan Jenkins, Rahall’s opponent this fall.
After the EPA announced its new rule on Monday, Rahall announced he would partner with West Virginia Republican Rep. David McKinley to block the agency from implementing its power plant rule.