One day after Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources announced it will close eight coal mines, including three in Virginia, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on the air with an ad criticizing President Barack Obama’s treatment of the coal industry.
A 30-second spot called “A Way of Life” features an unidentified miner saying that Obama administration policies are “attacking my livelihood.”
“Obama said he was going to bankrupt any new power plants that opened up that’s coal-fired and he’s keeping his promise,” the man says. “I got two young grandsons. I’m scared for their future, let alone mine. I support Mitt Romney.”
Another spot called “War on Coal” begins with a miner declaring: “Obama’s ruining the coal industry.”
“They’re wanting to close these mines down,” another says. “I got little ones at home—a wife that’s needing me.”
And then there’s footage of Romney, standing in front a group of miners, saying: ““People wonder how they’re going to have a brighter future, if they can’t see how they can make it to the end of the next month.”
Romney and prominent Virginia Republicans blamed the Obama administration yesterday when Alpha announced it will cut production and eliminate 1,200 jobs throughout the company. Republicans have accused the administration of waging a “war on coal” by imposing stricter air pollution standards in industries and utilities. Power companies already had been shifting toward cleaner, cheaper natural gas as they retire older, coal-fired plants.
Joanne Peters, Virginia spokeswoman for Obama’s campaign, said Romney’s “rhetoric doesn’t match his record on coal.”
” He has a long history of opposing coal-fired power plants, going back to his time as Governor of Massachusetts when he declared that coal-fired power plants ‘kill people’, and enforced strict regulations ‘without compromise,’” Peters said in an email statement. “The fact is, employment in the coal mining industry in Virginia has increased 9 percent since President Obama took office. Virginians have a choice in this election between President Obama, who’s Administration has gone to lengths to make sure regulations work with local circumstances and keep plants in business, or Governor Romney who denied a coal plant an extension to comply with regulations, claiming that he will not ‘protect jobs that kill people.”
– Michael Sluss