CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Election day is now past. We applaud the victors and appreciate those in defeat for their personal sacrifices and commitment to improving our society and our future.
Elections have consequences. We now understand who won and who lost, but we need to understand the impact of Tuesday's election on West Virginia.
In terms of coal, no one can deny that the national victory by President Obama has surely done nothing to change the pressure being placed on the coal industry and coal miners by a growing regulatory regime, environmentalists set to destroy the industry, and an administration that believes fossil fuels are part of our past and not part of our future.
As a state, the continuation of the war against coal will surely be felt with declining state revenues, constricting county budgets, and in the growing ranks of the jobless miners. According to recently released estimates for 2012, Central Appalachian coal production is expected to decline from 175 million tons in 2012 to 77 million tons in 2020. With President Obama's victory, it is reasonable to anticipate that the assault will continue.
In addition to the re-election of the president, Tuesday's election brought big changes in West Virginia state and county governments. Republicans gained across the board, picking up 11 seats in the House of Delegates, three seats in the state Senate, a new attorney general, a member of the Supreme Court -- and countless other races were razor tight.
Republicans were not the only ones celebrating Tuesday. Despite big losses in the Legislature, Democrats in West Virginia could point to the national victory of Obama as well as the re-election of Sen. Manchin, Gov. Tomblin, and several members of the state's Board of Public Works.
So what does the result of Tuesday's election mean in West Virginia? What does it mean for you? With Republicans gaining effective control of the House of Delegates by holding 46 of the 100 seats, there is likelihood of several things.