June 3, 2014

THE HILL: Democrats’ New Coal Headache.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on carbon pollution is the latest headache for Democrats trying to defend a fragile Senate majority.

With many vulnerable Democrats coming from energy-producing states, Republicans argued the Obama administration’s call for power plants to cut their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 would cost local jobs and increase energy prices. Democratic candidates in coal-rich West Virginia and Kentucky were among the first to try to distance themselves from the president after the changes were unveiled Monday.

In West Virginia, Senate nominee Natalie Tennant promised she would “stand up to President Obama, [EPA Administrator] Gina McCarthy, and anyone else who tries to undermine our coal jobs.”

Democrats’ path to keeping their six-seat Senate majority depends on protecting seats in red states like West Virginia, where the coal industry is one of the state’s primary job providers. There, Tennant is already at a disadvantage in the open seat contest against GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, largely because of Obama’s dismal approval numbers.

In the much more competitive Kentucky Senate Race, Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes also slammed the rule.

But obviously they didn’t have the clout to block it.

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