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  Jay Rockefeller's swan song?
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Last EditedImperator  Jun 21, 2012 06:51pm
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News DateFriday, June 22, 2012 12:50:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionNow we know the first open Senate race of 2014: Jay Rockefeller’s West Virginia seat.

Already the subject of speculation that he will not run for a sixth term in two years when he will be 77, Rockefeller’s stunning coal-industry-needs-to-face-reality speech Wednesday seemed to confirm the rumors.

By taking to the Senate floor to oppose an effort to block an Obama administration rule targeting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, Rockefeller managed to buck his colleagues in the state delegation, stick it to West Virginia’s vital industry and signal his political intentions all in one fateful act.

The coal industry’s reaction to the jeremiad suggested the state’s senior senator dropped his bomb without warning in a place where politics have been roiled by talk of a “war on coal” by the Obama administration.

In its A-1, above-the-fold story in today’s paper, The Charleston Daily Mail captured some of the shocked reaction.

West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Jason Bostic said he thought it was clear the Obama administration was not a friend to coal mining, particularly Appalachian mining. He said it didn't make sense to accuse the industry of fear mongering because the mineworkers union also opposed the EPA rule.

"How dare a U.S. senator accuse organizations as broad as the United Mine Workers and the Coal Association of fear mongering," Bostic said. "If it's real, how can it be fear mongering?"

Rockefeller drew this sharp reaction from the mayor of West Virginia’s largest city.

"He's a very nice man and he's very kind to people and very kind to me personally," Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said on Thursday's MetroNews Talkline. "But we've had enough of this guy. We don't need his kind of leadership in West Virginia."
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