State Sen. Tim Neville has no use for free markets when it comes to his pet causes. Yes, we all feel empathetic for people who lose their jobs, but the premise that jobs in the coal industry have been lost at the hand of Obama is laughable.

While its true that more stringent regulations implemented by Congress have played a part coal’s decline, the real culprit is the free market that Neville claims as an elixir for all that ails us.

My headline nods to the horse and buggy analogy. Regulations on buggy production didn’t kill the horse and buggy industry. The advent of a better technology—the automobile—killed it. There are simply easier, cleaner, and more abundant ways to create energy than coal mining. As you can see below, natural gas is replacing coal the way the auto replaced the horse and buggy.

Trying to save a non-viable industry through government action is something Neville would normally be pounding the podium against, so I suspect a cynical motive to his crocodile tears. Neville should level with his constituents about the real reasons for coal’s decline rather than blaming President Obama without cause.  He should contribute to efforts to retrain workers, help communities deal with economic realities, and grow new industries that are viable. Instead, he snipes from the trees, blaming everyone and everything but market forces for the decline of an industry that has been expected for decades.

Meanwhile, energy production is cheaper and more abundant than ever.