Patrick Morrisey may have come on the scene at just the right time to battle effectively against President Barack Obama's war on coal and reasonable electricity prices.
Morrisey, who became West Virginia's attorney general in January, discussed blocking Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency this past Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Wheeling. It was one of many similar gatherings he has hosted throughout the state.
Former Attorney General Darrell McGraw did not use his office to champion the coal industry. In fact, when other state officials wanted to file lawsuits against the EPA, McGraw had to be pushed "kicking and screaming" to do the work, Morrisey said.
That has changed. Morrisey told residents his office is working with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the state Department of Environmental Protection "to speak with one voice" against imprudent and sometimes illegal EPA actions.
Ironically, what is fortuitous about the timing of change in the attorney general's office is that Obama plans to increase the tempo of his assaults on coal.
A few weeks ago, the president revealed plans for harsher anti-coal policies than his EPA had pursued in the past. Obama added he will pursue the strategy even if Congress objects.
Utilities already had announced scores of closures of coal-fired power plants. More can be expected as a result of the new White House initiative.
But that is focusing attention on the impact of wrecking the coal industry-higher prices for electricity. People who in the past may not have even known their power was being generated from coal are becoming aware they will pay much higher utility bills if Obama proceeds.
While only a handful of states were united in opposing the war on coal, that will change as more and Americans learn what it means to them.
In turn, that will mean more allies in other states for Morrisey and other West Virginia officials dueling with the EPA.
Change already is apparent. "We're now able to speak with more strength because we can now have six, 10, 15 or even 20 attorneys general join a brief and step forward so that West Virginia's voice is magnified," Morrisey said of lawsuits against the EPA.
For some time, West Virginia residents have needed a more energetic defense from their attorney general. Now that we have Morrisey, it also is good to know the number of friends we have in other states is growing.