Coal industry supporters say they remain strongly opposed to some environmental protection regulations, but may tone down their “war on coal” talk in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election victory.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, elected to his 19th term in office Tuesday, told the Charleston Gazette
that it’s important for “those of us from the coal-producing and coal-consuming districts" to try to work out sensible solutions to regulation issues with the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said has run "roughshod over the states."
But others hold out little hope of a compromise on mining permits, as well as clean air and water issues, saying Obama's victory is likely to bring a new emphasis on shifting away from fossil fuels to green energy.
Mitt Romney won the nation's top three coal producing states — West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming. But he lost in the coal-producing swing states of Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado, despite his promise to loosen regulations on mining.
"I think the election returns may embolden Obama on a number of fronts, including a more determined effort to shift from black to green on energy," Pat Parenteau, who teaches environmental policy at the Vermont Law School, told the Charleston Gazette. "He certainly doesn't owe the coal industry or coal-state politicians anything."
That's certainly what the coal industry fears. West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney, said he was disappointed the industry campaign aimed at defeating Obama was unsuccessful.
"We simply have been victimized by them and targeted by them," Raney said of the Obama administration. "There needs to be a change on the side of the administration and then there will be a change by the industry."
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