Given the political realities in Washington, D.C., House passage of a "Stop the War on Coal Act" is largely symbolic, but it sends a needed message to the Obama administration about environmental overreach.
Republican representatives and some coal-state Democrats joined last Friday to pass a measure aimed at reining in the Environmental Protection Agency.
The bill would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, stop the administration from imposing strict new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and give states control of coal-ash disposal.
These are all issues that should be decided by the people's elected representatives in Congress, not administration bureaucrats.
The administration, largely though the EPA, has been pushing new regulations that would hurt the coal industry.
It's an issue that deserves Pennsylvanians' attention.
The Keystone State is the fourth-largest coal producer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Pennsylvania generates 44 percent of its electricity from coal. Regulations that require expensive new changes at generating plants will be reflected in the electric rates all of us pay.
There's also the matter of jobs.
A state Department of Labor and Industry report says 13,850 people in Pennsylvania are employed in mining other than for oil and gas in the state. A nearly equal number of people work in jobs that support mining.
Those are jobs our state cannot afford to lose, especially with its seasonally adjusted 7.9 percent unemployment rate in July and 509,000 people looking for work.
Regrettably, the Stop the War on Coal Act will never be enacted. Senate Democrats are expected to block the bill, and should it by some miracle pass, President Barack Obama is sure to veto the measure.
Still, the House-passed measure frames what should be an important debate over our nation's energy regulations and strategy. That makes the message meaningful, even if some in the administration choose not to hear it.