WASHINGTON — A claim from the vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine, and how it stacks up with the facts:
PENCE: The economy has stagnated under President Barack Obama, with the Democrat waging a “war on coal.”
THE FACTS: The coal industry is struggling, but the Indiana governor incorrectly blamed its woes solely on new federal regulations, omitting the effects of steep competition from cheap natural gas.
A string of major coal companies has filed for bankruptcy in recent years, including Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy. Layoffs and cutbacks have spread economic suffering through coal country in the Appalachians and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
By contrast, these are boom times for natural gas extraction.
Still, the Obama administration has implemented rules that aren’t making the coal industry’s life any easier. Obama last year imposed a rule requiring coal-fired power plants to cut their carbon emissions as part of his effort to combat climate change. The rule has been suspended pending a legal challenge. Obama also has halted new coal leases on federal lands until it completes a comprehensive review.
Contributed by Associated Press writer Matthew Daly.
EDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures