Commentary: Bowing to Big Coal

In 2009, when he cast a crucial vote for combating climate change, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler said: "When I cast this vote, I thought about my children, their future and the duty all of us have to protect God's creation."

Last week, Chandler must have been thinking only of his political future and the slim 647-vote margin that kept him in Congress last November. The Democrat from Versailles knuckled under to the coal industry — and to the inundation of unlimited political money with which the Supreme Court now allows special interests to hammer pols who show too much integrity.

Chandler joined House Republicans and 18 Democrats to approve a ban on regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the Senate, a similar shackling of the EPA sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell failed to get enough votes. And President Barack Obama would have vetoed it, if it had, so the House vote was a political gesture.

Still, it must have been a bitter pill for Chandler, even though his reversal is not as inconsistent as it might at first appear.

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