Will Coal Be A Deciding Factor In How Ohioans Cast Their Votes On Election Day?

The politics of coal are reportedly playing a large role in how many Ohioans plan to cast their ballots on Election Day. Senator Sherrod Brown and President Barack Obama maintain there is no “war on coal” but those on the other side of the energy debate disagree.

Institute for Energy Research President Thomas J. Pyle argues that the Obama administration is making good on a 2008 promise to bankrupt the coal industry, according to US News and World Report. Pyle references a quote about the coal industry the president made four years ago.

Obama had this to say on the issue:

“If someone wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

Sherrod Brown had this to say when speaking on the topic:

“There is no war on coal. Period. There are more coal jobs and more coal produced in Ohio than there were five years ago, in spite of the talking points and the yard signs.”

The US Energy Information Administration data reveals that American coal production is down 11 percent from 2007. Pyle points to two proposed federal regulations which he feels significantly impact coal miners. A new set of performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions ban new coal-fired power plants that do no capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Pyle also cites the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards as detrimental to the coal industry. The Environmental Protection Agency reportedly estimated the cost of implementing the new policy at $10 billion per year. The energy expert predicts that the new sets of standards would mean an end to coal plants.

Thousands of jobs would be lost in the southeastern and western regions of the state if Pyle’s predictions are accurate. Whether or not there is a war on coal, miners and those who make a living in related industries, are reportedly weighing the potential economic impact of their vote very heavily.