War Over

Pence points out coal production is up

Vice President Mike Pence’s observation Thursday in Wheeling that “the war on coal is over” gained him — and President Donald Trump — a well-deserved round of applause.

Speaking during an event that focused on tax reform, Pence reminded those in the audience at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge that progress has been made in rolling back unnecessary regulations, too.

Mountain State residents are well aware of former President Barack Obama’s war on coal and affordable electricity. Trump is keeping his promise to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency.

That is producing results, Pence said Thursday. Coal production in our state last year was 16 percent higher than in 2016, he explained.

Though Pence didn’t mention it, thousands of families have felt the effects of the cease-fire in the war on coal. Mining and logging employment in West Virginia (unfortunately, neither state nor federal agencies separate the two) totaled about 23,000 in June. That was an increase of about 2,300 since Trump took office.

So yes, Trump is keeping his promise. But much more remains to be done.

Obama’s war affected more than the coal industry. It also has an impact on electricity prices, because the coal industry the former president wanted to destroy supplies the lowest-cost, more dependable generating fuel available.

Obama-era incentives for utilities to shut down coal-fired power plants were embraced by many companies. That, too, needs to be reversed.

Good for Trump — and conservatives in Congress who have supported an end to the assault on coal. Now, it is time to move on to ending the war against affordable, reliable electricity.