President Barack Obama likes to portray himself as the protector of the middle class, but when it comes to jobs, he’s anything but, according to a Wall Street Journal
Obama claims he will preserve middle-class jobs better than his Republican opponent Mitt Romney. “Somehow he seems to be getting away with it,” Journal editors write. “Tell that to the miners and others employed in the coal industry, a middle-class job if there ever was one and the target of relentless regulatory assault over the last four years.”
Just last week coal producer Alpha Natural Resources announced it is closing eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, meaning the loss of 1,200 jobs.
To be sure, some of the coal industry’s woes stem from the cheap alternative now provided by natural gas. But in its announcement Alpha said a "regulatory environment that's aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal" is just as big a problem.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued regulations intended to shutter coal-fired power plants. Arch Coal, PBS Coal, RoxCoal, and Ohio Valley Coal have recently announced job cuts. In June, Arch Coal put the kibosh on its activity in Appalachia, nuking 750 full-time jobs, 10 percent of its work force. The company attributed the cutbacks to the "challenging regulatory environment."
"There's a balance to be found between the environment and the economy and the EPA has worked very hard to avoid finding that balance," West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin told the Register-Herald in Beckley, W. Va.
Journal editors write: “the EPA will have no incentive to consider that balance if Mr. Obama wins a second term with his anti-fossil fuel record.”
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