COAL IS no longer king in the Ohio Valley. It could be, but government restrictions have reduced the mining industry into a shell of its former might.
The Obama administration has made it clear that coal doesn't enter into its energy game plan. The White House has attempted to bury coal, while pushing less reliable and costlier options.
Countries such as China cannot get enough of our coal. Unfortunately, our administration would rather see our coal leave our borders instead of putting it to productive use here at home.
The U.S. coal industry may never regain its previous swagger and clout. That is unfortunate.
But if nurtured properly, the coal industry can still play a significant role in our nation's energy picture. Such needs to happen.
U.S. House Republicans took a step in that direction Tuesday. The GOP Congressmen passed a bill that would prevent the Obama administration from imposing a stream-protection rule for coal mining that government experts say would eliminate thousands of jobs.
The administration rule would replace Bush-era regulations that set up buffer zones around waterways and were aimed chiefly at mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.
The bill passed by the House features local flavor. It was authored by Rep. Bill Johnson from Ohio's 6th District. The Marietta-based legislator realizes the importance of coal and is not afraid to champion its cause.
Johnson says his bill would boost efforts to "stop the war on coal and put in place regulations that are more realistic and effective for both businesses and the environment."
Johnson's bill is a worthwhile one, as it goes to bat for an industry that needs governmental support.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration will likely quash the legislation, much like it has of the coal industry.