Today, West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin revealed he was “livid” when Hillary vowed to put the coal industry ‘out of business’ during a CNN town hall debate. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that during the televised performance, the Democratic front-runner said what no West Virginian wants to hear: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” In the aftermath of President Obama’s war on “dirty” fuels, no state has been hit harder then West Virginia’s coal miners.
Sen. Manchin retells of his reaction to that comment in an interview with the WSJ: “It was horrific,” he says. Not only did the senator endorse Hillary last year in her bid to be president, but he believed that she was the best candidate to have a “pragmatic” view of the coal industry. Unlike most of his Democrat counterparts, Manchin has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Just recently, the Supreme Court issued a stay along partisan lines on the EPA’s sweeping new regulations in order to give states and industry time to litigate the matter through the courts. It’s also one of the reasons President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who sided with the stay. As a judge, “Garland has in a number of cases favored contested EPA regulations and actions when challenged by industry, and in other cases he has accepted challenges brought by environmental groups.”
After Hillary made her comments at the town hall debate on March 13, Manchin called Clinton’s campaign and spoke directly with the presidential candidate. “I called her,” Manchin said. “I said, ‘My God.'” He says he told Clinton that if she really meant what she said, “we can just part ways.” Manchin says he also told her that, “You probably don’t need West Virginia. Maybe you don’t even think you can win it and don’t need to win it. I really don’t know how your team is evaluating our state.”
The state’s Democratic primary is set for May 10, and Clinton won it during her failed 2008 bid against a first-term senator named Barack Obama. The last time a Democrat won the state in a general election was Clinton’s husband, Bill. After Hillary’s gaffe, the prospects look even bleaker, especially in coal-producing states getting hammered by the current administration.
Of all the coal-producing states, West Virginia has lost the most coal mining jobs than any other, due in large part to the current administration’s onerous rules and visible disdain for coal-fired power plants. The Clean Power Plan, while is currently on hold, is still being implemented by many blue states because the EPA has said they will prevail in court. If Garland is nominated to the Supreme Court, he could be the deciding factor in completely destroying the coal economy in numerous states. Many don’t realize that killing coal also means destroying America’s steel industry.