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DESPITE denials from some Democrats, the Obama administration seems set on disassembling the coal industry.

This war on coal is not without casualties.

As Rep. Shelley Moore Capito noted recently, 18 coal units already have been closed in West Virginia due to Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

That has cost West Virginians 1,000 jobs already.

The state lost another 1,200 jobs in the last three months of 2012 as surface mining production fell to a 25-year low.

"The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants," Obama science adviser Daniel P. Schrag told the New York Times recently.

"Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed."

But the Energy Information Agency projected that coal will continue to account for at least 35 percent of the nation's electricity generation through 2040. That is 37 years away, or more than one generation.

"As a proud West Virginian, I have a message for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who put their liberal base ahead of American jobs," Capito said.

"We won't let you turn off the lights on West

Virginia."

If Obama's plan truly were to the benefit of the nation, he would not be trying to hide what he is

doing.

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WEST Virginia leads the nation in prescription drug abuse and the drug overdose deaths that are its companion. The abuse of legal painkillers kills far more people than illegal drugs in the state.

Pharmacists in the Northern Panhandle are fighting back, Shelley Hanson of the Wheeling Intelligencer reported.

Drug stores are boosting security and surveillance, and the more than 100 members of the Ohio-Marshall Pharmacist Association are improving their training. It is similar to the training police officers

receive, according to Jason Turner, past president of the group.

"By the time you reach the front counter, you've been on camera six to eight times," Turner said.

"Security and surveillance systems really play key roles in identifying individuals when they enter stores."

Pharmacists elsewhere in the state should watch this development closely.

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DELEGATE Larry Kump, R-Berkeley, wants the Division of Highways to slow down on the road to higher taxes.

"Let's not rush to surrender to an anxious clamor for increased taxes and spending, while merely giving lip service to vigorously investigating ways to reform our current practices and procedures," he said.

Kump pointed to the governor's blue ribbon panel on highway funding.

"Their assignment should be to come up with a matrix of what is absolutely necessary for reasonably safe highway transportation, as opposed to what would be nice but just too much champagne for our beer budget," he said.

Beer? Many West Virginians have trouble paying for coffee these days.


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