Defenders of President Obama's energy policies will say this past week's decision by Monongahela Power's parent company, FirstEnergy Corp., to close the Willow Island Power Station and two other aging coal-fired power plants in the state has more to do with their age than regulations.
That is only partially true. All three of the plants are old, and Willow Island was built in the 1940s. The cost of retrofitting it and the other two plants would not be cost-efficient.
Old or not, the closings by Sept. 1 will cost the state 105 jobs - 35 at the Willow Island plant.
And we steadfastly believe if Obama has his way, it won't only be aging plants that will close. The Environmental Protection Agency, under the direction of its zealot administrator, Lisa Jackson, has made no secret the agency's No. 1 target is coal.
Its goal is to make mining coal so expensive because of excessive regulations, operations will either shut down, or because coal is still the most cost-efficient way to produce electricity, be forced to pass along ever-increasing costs to consumers.
The president loves to say he is working to preserve the middle class, yet his policies have just the opposite effect, especially in the Appalachian coal-producing states. Ask the workers at Willow Island, at least temporarily still part of that middle class, how they feel today about Obama's support.
"This is another example of how the EPA is costing us good jobs in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia," Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. "When the EPA adopts regulations they continue to fail to take into account the real-life effects these rules have on hard-working Americans like those who have dedicated themselves to FirstEnergy at the West Virginia locations."
Maybe President Obama believes his policies are helping the middle class. However, because of the "real-life effects" those policies have on the average working family, he either doesn't understand, or he doesn't care. His real constituencies - leftist social engineers and environmentalists - certainly don't have any concerns about working American families.
Between now and November, Obama will be playing the role of a magician whose sleight of hand attempts to convince voters his policies are helping families while desperately trying to hide their true cost.