Democrats soften stance on coal in advance of election

As the November elections near, many Democratic candidates in states that rely on coal-fired generation and coal mining have tried to distance themselves from President Barack Obama's policies, according to The Associated Press.

Coal-fired power plants have seen their share of electricity generation decline dramatically in the past year, replaced in large part by natural gas-fired power plants following a sharp drop in prices.

In many coal-producing states, however, the blame has been laid squarely on new emissions policies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, making Obama an unpopular figure in places like West Virginia and Kentucky.

Spokespeople for Obama have argued that the president's energy policy includes continuing use of coal, however, some Democratic candidates have nonetheless backed a Republican proposal to roll back recent EPA rules and restrict their ability to regulate emissions.

At the same time, The Washington Post reports that the conflict over coal-fired generation has also stalled new regulations for coal ash, or fly ash, as many Democrats have proven unwilling to push issues surrounding coal in advance of the election.

The new coal emissions regulations are considered at PennEnergy's Research area.

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