While campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama said his cap-and-trade tax plans would “bankrupt” anyone building a coal-fired power plant. Although those taxes haven’t materialized, the Environmental Protection Agency has put the brakes on 79 surface mining permits in four states since he was elected.
The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant “enhanced” review. But the agency went even further last week, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia – a move that has caused anxiety among coal-state Democrats about the future of the industry under the Obama administration. …
Although his favored cap-and-trade bill hasn’t yet been passed, West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin III, who supported Mr. Obama’s candidacy, called the EPA moves part of a stealth campaign to stifle the industry.
“Right now, my belief is that they’re trying to kill off surface mining through regulation what they cannot get done through legislation,” Mr. Manchin told MetroNews Talkline, a West Virginia call-in radio program, earlier this month. In West Virginia, 23 permits are being held up, with other affected states being Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
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