ONE of the debates going on in Washington is whether there is a war on coal.
Last week, just ahead of President Obama's speech announcing his initiatives on global warming, an administration adviser dropped the "w" word.
The New York Times reported that Harvard geochemist Daniel Schrag said:
"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."
That prompted a denial this week from Energy Secretary Ernest Moinz. He told Reuters that coal will remain part of the energy mix.
"I don't believe it is a 'war on coal,' " Moinz said.
The semantic debate is pointless. It's like arguing whether Vietnam was a war or a conflict.
No, it was never officially declared, but try telling the soldiers who served that they didn't fight in a war.
Since President Obama took office there has been a consistent and concerted effort to remove coal from the energy mix.
The heavy regulatory hand of the Environmental Protection Agency has made it more difficult and time consuming to get permits, while the agency has moved steadily toward carbon emission standards that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to build a coal-burning power plant in the future.
The president gave even more specific marching orders to the EPA last week that environmentalists believe will send domestic coal burning on a glide path toward extinction.
The environmental community has always held Obama to account on his famous campaign pledge to bankrupt utilities that want to stick with coal in the future, so now he's making good.