OPINION / Ken Cuccinelli II – Livelihoods on the Line this November … Virginia and Coal
by Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia
The Cuccinelli Compass newsletter
In the Presidential election of 2008, Northern Virginia saw about 80% voter turnout. It was only 67% in southwest Virginia. I don’t think the Virginians hardest hit by Obama’s presidency are going to let that happen again.
Everyone is a stakeholder in this election, but for my fellow Virginians in Southwest and Southside, their livelihoods are at stake.
The coal industry is facing a direct assault from the Obama administration. That fact was illustrated on Tuesday when Virginia’s largest coal company, Alpha Natural Resources, had to lay off 10% of its workforce and close down 8 mines, 3 or which are right here in Virginia.
There are several factors that led to Alpha’s decision: over-regulation (including illegal over-regulation) by the EPA, increasing competition for electricity generation from natural gas, and an Obama economy that isn’t growing and is plagued with uncertainty.
The EPA – which I like to refer to as the Employment Prevention Agency – is so out of control that they are even trying to regulate water as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act. If that sounds crazy, it is. Even the Democrat-heavy Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agrees with me that this is an egregious overstep of the Federal government.
Many companies are waiting to make important decisions about expanding until after November 6th, hoping they’ll get a clearer picture of where their regulatory burden is headed. President Obama and Governor Romney have expressed clear visions of which direction they would take the country. More regulations with President Obama, especially when he gets more “flexibility” after the election. Less regulations with Governor Romney.
This week I got the opportunity to tour a brand new hybrid power plant in Wise County, Virginia. The plant is by far the cleanest coal plant in the country. It provides hundreds of well-paying, permanent jobs in a region that has been hardest hit during the economic slowdown.
If President Obama has his way, the Wise County power plant will be the last coal-fired power plant built in the country. This policy is foolish and disregards a viable source of energy. The new technology used is much more efficient and produces substantially less emissions than older plants built in the 1960s and 70s. Obama’s (often illegal) assault on coal has already given us higher electricity prices and destroyed jobs.
In northern Virginia we have a pretty diversified economy — if one industry failed it would be a setback, but it wouldn’t bring the region to a halt. That is not the case in southwest Virginia. That pizza joint in Wise doesn’t exist without coal.
Obama says he has an “all of the above energy policy.” I’d like to see him tell that to these families that are struggling to get by. These are hardworking people that take pride in their honest work and do not want to depend on the government—they just want the government to get out of their way!
This week I met with GOP and Tea Party groups from Bristol to Roanoke. They are committed to defending their jobs and promoting policies that get us back to free markets. They’re not going to have a repeat of the low voter turnout this time. This election is too important. It means their job. It’s for their family. It’s for our future.
In the small amount of downtime I had while traveling around southwest I was able to make it into the Hokie Victory office in Blacksburg. I think we can all find some time in our schedule to help out. Every hour counts. Every phone call is an opportunity to swing a vote.
This election may not be decided by one vote, but it might be! I won my last state senate race in a recount – I know personally that every vote counts. Please join me in supporting both the Romney/Ryan ticket and George Allen’s Senate campaign. Please work every free moment to elect them into office.
Please contact your nearest Victory office to join the fight, or email Noah@Cuccinelli.com today.
Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia
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