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FILE -- The American Electric Power Company FILE -- The American Electric Power Company's cooling tower at their Mountaineer plant is shown in New Haven, W.Va., Oct. 27, 2009. (REUTERS/Ayesha Rascoe)  

Conservatives target West Virginia Dem for supporting carbon tax

Conservatives have ramped their efforts to unseat West Virginia Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, criticizing his vote for a carbon tax that would adversely affect the coal-heavy state he represents.

Rahall is up for re-election in a state where President Obama’s coal policies are becoming increasingly unpopular, making him a target for conservative campaigners. A new $350,000 TV ad campaign promoted by the free market American Energy Alliance slams Rahall for voting for a bill that would impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, the Progressive Caucus budget.

“To the detriment of West Virginia families, Congressman Rahall has perfected the art of saying one thing at home and voting the other way in Washington,” said Thomas Pyle, AEA’s president. “With his support for the carbon tax, Congressman Rahall has enlisted in President Obama’s war on coal, a war whose first victims include the coal mining families of West Virginia’s third Congressional District.”

Despite his vote in favor of the overall progressive budget, Rahall said he was opposed to taxing carbon.

“I am not for a carbon tax,” Rahall told E&E Daily.

Rahall also came under fire from the Republican campaigners who have not only pointed out his vote in favor of a carbon tax, but also his past support for Obamacare. The West Virginia Democrat recently said in a radio interview that he did not regret voting for the bill.

“For Nick Rahall, it doesn’t matter how many plans are canceled or how much premiums rise. He’s sticking by this failed law,” said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Andrea Bozek in a statement. “Next year, voters will hold him accountable for imposing this disaster on them.”

However, Rahall has come out against the EPA’s regulations that would cripple the coal industry. The embattled Democrat even appeared at a pro-coal rally in Washington, D.C. last month with fellow lawmakers to lambast the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce U.S. coal usage. Over the years, Rahall has introduced many pro-coal bills in Congress and even voted against the 2009 cap-and-trade bill.

Rahall even introduced a measure barring the Treasury Department from implementing a carbon tax, just weeks after he voted in favor of the progressive budget.

Rahall said that there was no carbon tax in the progressive budget that he voted for. E&E Daily reports that this is technically true, since “amendment to the GOP’s annual spending and tax blueprint specified no policy items at all, just funding levels for various federal functions. The same can be said for any budget resolution.”

However, the supporting documents for the Progressive Caucus’s budget clearly say that some revenues would come from a carbon tax.

“The Budget for All would impose a $20 per ton price on CO2 (increasing at 5.6 percent a year) on polluters, and rebate 25 percent of all revenues as refundable credits, holding low and middle income families harmless,” the documents read.

“Nick Rahall betrayed West Virginia when he voted for the Progressive Budget and its coal-killing carbon tax,” the NRCC said in a statement. “The sad truth is that, after 36 years of playing Washington D.C. politics, Nick Rahall has joined liberal Democrats in their War on Coal and can’t bring himself to tell the truth to West Virginia families.”

Rahall’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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