ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Friends of coal are certain they know the enemy.
They fault President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency for new clean air rules they deride as a devastating blow to a multibillion-dollar industry, the lifeblood of Appalachia for generations.
The agency standards imposed earlier this year tightened limits on existing coal powered-plant emissions. Guidelines on restricting greenhouse gases could affect new plants as early as 2013.
Obama's moves on clean air and fossil fuels have complicated the lives of Democrats in coal-rich states that count on mining for jobs and economic growth. This election year, incumbents and candidates are adopting drastically different strategies to ensure their own political survival.