In a statement Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) described a new climate initiative from President Obama as a declaration of war on the coal industry.
Obama announced in a speech at Georgetown University that he will use executive authority to impose the first carbon limits on existing power plants.
“The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable,” Manchin said in a statement. “It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology."
Utilities will be forced to shutter aging coal plants to comply with the stricter pollution limits; in the short term, electricity prices will go up. Republicans frequently accuse Obama of waging a "war on coal" and see the president's latest move as only a new salvo in that war.
Manchin, a conservative Democrat from a coal-mining state, often battles the White House on environmental issues. In a 2010 campaign ad he shot at a copy of a bill to regulate greenhouse gases. Last year he told a local newspaper that the federal government "absolutely" is waging a "war on coal," but he did not single out Obama as the leader of that war.