- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Christmas is a time for putting past differences aside — including those between the White House and the embattled U.S. coal industry.

This year’s White House Christmas ornament, honoring the country’s 29th president, Warren G. Harding, features coal loaded into a train car.

The White House Historical Association released photos of the ornament on Tuesday.

“I am delighted that this year’s ornament features President Hardin’s historical transcontinental train travel,” said association President Stewart McLaurin. “What a special way to feature the fond memories so many Americans have of trains around the Christmas tree and taking the train at holiday time to see family.”

The association also described the inspiration for the ornament.

“President Harding took over the controls on the Alaskan railroad during the ‘Voyage of Understanding,’ his famous transcontinental speaking and sightseeing tour. The Presidential Special, the train that carried President Harding west at the outset of his ambitious voyage and that would tragically carry his casket back east following his sudden death, just two months later, is the inspiration for the 2014 ornament,” the organization said in a press release.

The ornament’s unveiling comes a week after the White House released some of the most sweeping environmental regulations in American history — regulations specifically designed to shrink coal’s share of the U.S. power-generation sector.

New rules put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency set harsh limits on power-plant emissions, and could lead to the shuttering of coal-fired power-generation facilities across the country.

The administration has admitted it sees coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation shrinking from nearly 40 percent to about 30 percent over the next 15 years.

During his 2008 campaign, President Obama famously said anyone who tried to build a coal power plant during his administration would go bankrupt.

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