Coal Tattoo

I guess if you’ve got a million dollars to burn … but seriously, here’s what Politico is reporting:

A nonprofit advocacy group is pledging to spend $1 million pressuring U.S. senators to oppose the Obama administration’s “War on Coal” ahead of a Senate vote on regulating utility emissions.

The group, American Commitment, is starting a round of television, radio and Web ads in four states with potential swing votes on the Environmental Protection Agency’s utility MACT (“maximum achievable control technology,” for you regulation buffs) rules: Tennessee, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine.

West Virginia? That’s right:

Two of the targets for the campaign are Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat. The ads urge Alexander to “stand up for Tennessee” with his vote, and invoke legendary West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in urging Manchin to advocate against the Obama administration.

“Byrd understood his role was to serve as more than just one vote,” the West Virginia ad says. “Sen. Joe Manchin may vote right, but will he lead others to stand up to Obama?”

The use of Sen. Byrd in the ad is especially bizarre, given the things Sen. Byrd told us about the coal industry before he died:

Change has been a constant throughout the history of our coal industry. West Virginians can choose to anticipate change and adapt to it, or resist and be overrun by it.  One thing is clear.  The time has arrived for the people of the Mountain State to think long and hard about which course they want to choose.

And let’s not forget that, as governor, Sen. Manchin tried to challenge Sen. Byrd on coal issues (see here and here), practically demanding that the senator clarify his statements:

I want to know if he’s against mountaintop removal completely or if he just wants to modify it.  I want to make sure we’re still on the same page. If we have some clarification, it will help all of us.