Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Democrats in Kentucky, West Virginia hurt by Obama's stance on coal

Don't miss Trip Gabriel's story in the New York Times, "Democrats in Coal Country Run from E.P.A." Mostly he focuses on Natalie Tennant's race for U.S. Senator from West Virginia, and Alison Lundergan Grimes's run for Mitch McConnell's seat in Kentucky. Here's the story's lede:
It took little time for Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, in the most high-profile Senate race this year, to distance herself from the Obama administration’s proposal for sharp cuts to emissions from power plants. 
Even as the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its proposed regulation on Monday, Ms. Grimes pledged to “fiercely oppose the president’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my No. 1 priority.” 
The reaction came hard and fast here in Kentucky, where coal is woven as deeply into the state’s psyche as basketball and bourbon, and where more than 90 percent of the state’s electricity comes from coal.
Later, the story also mentions Mark Udall's fight to hold his U.S. Senate seat from Colorado.   And it notes the vulnerability of senate Democrats in Montana, Iowa and Arkansas.  Back in West Virginia, Gabriel refers to the situation of Nick J. Rahall II, "one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress" who "took to the floor last week to preemptively denounce the E.P.A.:
The only real question is where on a scale from devastating to a death blow the new rule will fall.  
Interestingly, the story also quotes a Kentucky Democrat who supports McConnell and a Kentucky Republican who sees that the days of coal are numbered.  I'll share the latter, which seems more visionary:
I’m sorry about the coal, their jobs, their welfare.  Somebody should give them other work or training, because coal is going to run out one of these days.

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