11.01.15

Editorial: New Efforts to Fight EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Without a doubt, President Barack Obama is in the phase of his presidency that he would like to solidify his legacy. The president is in the downhill stretch of his presidency ... a time when many presidents finish up old political business, issue questionable pardons and start planning a location for their Presidential Library.

Apparently one of those business-finishing chores on the president’s plate is to do away with coal as an energy source and building material for civilization. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan — a plan that seeks to dramatically reduce the number of coal-fired power generation facilities in the U.S. over the next 15 years — would complete the work Al Gore started during the administration of President Bill Clinton.

Coal has been in an uphill battle for decades, but the industry has been on a steep and slippery slope throughout the Obama years. Power plants have been decommissioned, mines have been idled and the economy of the Central Appalachian region is suffering. The number of souls who call the coalfields home has been dwindling, but that population decline has been taking place for three score years already. Times are hard.

One would expect U.S. senators who serve people in the heart of the coalfields would fight against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and yes they did. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is one of the patrons of the Senate’s most recent effort to block the EPA’s latest rule. And no surprise, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., is one of a scant few Democrats who have signed on in support of the effort.

Another Democrat, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is a co-patron of the resolution that has the support of a total of 49 senators — counting the two patrons. Americans ought to be alarmed by that number. The polarity that divided the country during the administration of President George W. Bush, and during President Bill Clinton’s administration, has not diminished. The vitriolic exchanges of both parties in the presidential debates ought to serve as a warning sign for things to come.

Winning a presidency isn’t the same thing as being a Divine Right absolute monarch like it was in days of yore. Rather, it is a leadership role that — from time to time — requires the manager to listen to people other than those who say “Yes. Yes. Yes,” and sometimes, hear the voices — often very faint — that are saying, “No.”

Fourth-eight U.S. Senators are saying “No” to the administration on the Clean Power Plan. Perhaps it is time for the president and his administration to pause for a moment and listen to what others are saying. Without even listening, the polarity that now divides the U.S., will grow even deeper.


Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph