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POLITICS: White House

West Virginia Democrats descend on Washington to protest the 'war on coal'

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Environment,Energy Department,Ashe Schow,Analysis

Democrats from West Virginia are headed to Washington, D.C., to defend the coal industry against the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas emissions regulations that President Obama often touts.

Seventeen Democratic West Virginian lawmakers, including Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio, Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley will make the trip Aug. 1 to meet with EPA officials and members of the Obama administration hoping to stop what they call the Obama administration's "war on coal."

West Virginia Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, as well as Rep. Nick Rahall, will join the delegation in Washington.

"This is not about politics, this is about people," Puccio said. "This is about the coal miner that has risked their life to support their family, this is about the construction worker from the trades that builds safe structure, and this is about the small business owner who serves those coal communities.

"So as I travel to Washington next week I will deliver one strong message: While for many years Americans have called on our coal miners to keep the lights on for them and their families, today we call on America to keep the lights on for the families of our coal miners."

Rockefeller said Obama's climate change policy will "have a direct effect on the lives of our mining communities that are already facing great uncertainties, and on the pocketbooks of every one of our middle-class families still dealing with a recovering job market."

Manchin sounded a similar theme, saying "we cannot allow President Obama, the EPA or anyone else [to] demonize the one source of energy that produces more of this country's electricity than any other single source."

The march on Washington is the latest move by West Virginia Democrats to fight the Obama EPA. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said July 17 that "West Virginia is going to be engaged in litigation against the EPA."

Following the AG's remarks, 22 U.S. House members, including Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., signed a letter to Obama Monday opposing the regulations.

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