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Obama to regulate existing power plants

WEST Virginians won't want to miss President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. Sources think he is likely to double down on his war on coal-fired power plants.

"Mr. Obama is likely to signal he wants to move beyond proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules on emissions from new power plants and tackle existing coal-fire plants, people familiar with the administration's plans said," wrote Peter Nicholas and Keith Johnson of The Wall Street Journal.

"The action, building on a pledge in the second inaugural address, fits within Mr. Obama's larger strategy of making full use of his executive authority in areas where Congress is putting up obstacles to his agenda."

A little background:

Last spring, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed stringent emissions limits for new power plants. The standards "would make coal-fired plants all but impossible to build," Nicholas and Johnson wrote.

The president is said to want to go beyond that to further curb emissions at existing  plants where utility companies are already spending billions of dollars to comply with existing regulations.

"Some utility executives are warning about the costs of regulation," the Journal story said. "Nick Akins, chief executive of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co., says limiting emissions from existing plants would be 'devastating.' "

An interesting sidelight to the story was this line: "Congressional Republicans and businesses have objected to regulating existing plants."

No mention of congressional Democrats, leaving the public plenty of room to assume that they . . .

Well, what?

Agree with the president's habit of using executive authority to make policies that will have far-reaching economic consequences for their states all by himself?

Think serving their president is more important than serving their constituents?

Think loyalty to their party outweighs the need for representative government?

President Obama did not win a single county in West Virginia last fall. After decades of solidly Democratic representation, Republicans now hold two of the state's three seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans gained 11 seats in the House of Delegates.

Rockefeller's seat in the U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs in 2014.

What West Virginia Democrats do - or do not do - about their imperial president will likely further affect how their constituents view the party itself.

 


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