Rahall blasts incoming EPA power plant rule

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), one of the most vulnerable House Democrats this election cycle, blasted the incoming Environmental Protection Agency regulations for coal-fired power plants on Thursday.

The Obama administration is expected to announce new standards for coal-fired power plants next week. While the EPA has not yet announced the specifics of the coming rule, it is expected to mandate limits on power plants' carbon emissions.

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"The only real question is where on a scale from devastating to the death blow the rule will fall," Rahall said on the House floor.

Rahall, whose state is one of the country's top coal producers, said he would do everything in his power to block the regulation.

"I and I'm sure others who represent coal mining communities across this country will not sit idle of this latest challenge by EPA to our way of life," Rahall said.

"At stake is our economy and livelihoods of our coal miners, steelworkers, electrical workers," Rahall said.

But the National Republican Congressional Committee argued that Rahall had voted in the past for legislation to boost limits on carbon emissions, pointing to a vote for an appropriations bill that included a provision endorsing cap-and-trade policies. 

"As Obama’s EPA prepares new regulations to help fight the War on Coal and end West Virginia’s economy as we know it, Nick Rahall has no one to blame but himself," NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement.