WHEELING - The latest salvo in the war on coal was fired last month when Murray Energy Corp. announced it would sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to combat what the company terms the EPA's "illegal promulgation of senseless and destructive regulations, with absolutely no regard for their job and family destruction."
Murray Energy is required by law to notify any federal agency in advance of such a lawsuit.
The company said that the federal Clean Air Act "clearly requires the Obama EPA to consider job losses in its issuance of regulations, and it has never complied with the law."
In the notice, Murray Energy demands the EPA evaluate the job losses caused by its regulations. Over the past several years, according to Murray, the EPA has put forth a series of rules and regulations seeking to eliminate the domestic coal industry, and the jobs and low cost electricity that it provides.
"Unfortunately, we had no choice but to file this notice and lawsuit," said Murray spokesman Gary M. Broadbent. "The Clean Air Act is crystal clear in requiring the EPA to evaluate the negative impact that their regulations will have on jobs, but they have repeatedly been derelict in their duty.
"We must defend these jobs, families, and America, and force the EPA and President Obama to comply with the law."
Murray Energy is not the only group working to draw renewed attention to the war on coal. House Republicans, including Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., also are focused on the issue.
McKinley last year brought attention to the fact the World Bank announced it will limit funding of coal-fired power plants in developing countries.
The move came as mines in West Virginia and Ohio are increasing the amount of coal they export to foreign nations and the Obama administration seeks to reduce carbon emissions in America.
McKinley said he was "astounded" to hear of the World Bank's policy change. The bank's role is to provide loans at a lower cost to developing nations wanting to improve infrastructure, he said.
"It's pretty obvious this is just one more effort by this administration to curtail the use of coal - not just in the nation, but in the world," McKinley said. "When did we become the world cop? When did he (President Barack Obama) decide to take his ideology around the world and prevent nations from having affordable energy?
"The president is no more the president of the world than we are the congress of the world," he continued, noting the president appoints the director of the World Bank.
McKinley contacted the World Coal Association in London to discuss what action could ensure countries such as Ethiopia and Nicaragua can access funds to help them build power plants and provide needed electricity.
"The core of this goes beyond coal mining," McKinley said. "We're blessed that we have the ability in America to fund alternative sources of energy - biomass, wind and solar. They don't have that opportunity in Ethiopia and other developing nations. There is 20 percent of the world that has no electricity, and many other parts that have undependable electricity.
"It seems the feeling now is, 'We got ours ... and we're not going to let you get the most affordable energy.' Wind and solar are more expensive, and they may not be able to subsidize it the way we can in America," he added.
Countries such as China and India are opening at least one new coal plant a week, according to McKinley, and are burning a lot of coal.
"And the coal-fired power houses they are building are not like the old plants," he continued. "They are new and ... state of the art. The technology is there, and they have highly efficient boilers."