Gimme a break. Obama Loves Coal.
The desperate Wingosphere has latched on to an out of context quote by Barack Obama “discovered” in an interview posted online since January by the San Francisco Chronicle, spreading what no doubt will be a very effective last minute fear tactic designed to influence any vacillating members of the low-info, Appalachian coal mining, don’t-need-much-of-an-excuse-to-vote-against-the-black-guy voters in Southern Ohio and Western PA and VA. (Hidden in plain sight.)
MoveOn.org was livid with Obama because of his stance on coal. This lie that Obama is anti-coal is so Rovian you almost have to admire the last minute smear attack on what was an Obama weakness that only in Appalachia is a strength. Genius or dumb luck, this one is really something else. If there was more time, it’s a backfire issue that would reveal Obama at his reaching-over-the-aisle best. Now it’s just a rhetorical hand grenade.
I remember last spring when coal, specifically Obama’s flip-flops on liquefied coal technology became a big frickin’ deal to a lot of my John Edwards supporting friends in Blogtopia. So stark the differences between Obama and Edwards, many of the enviro-bloggers were convinced that Edwards would win the primary on this issue alone. No really, especially since one of Obama’s co-sponsors on the bill promoting the use of the dirtiest of all fossil fuels as a transportation gasoline substitute — guaranteed to make global warming worst, not better — was Larry “Wide-Stance” Craig.
That’s right, Obama is so opposed to the coal industry, wants to funnel huge amounts of tax dollars to them. Obama supports of federal money for coal as an “alternative fuel.”
Prodded by intense lobbying from the coal industry,
lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers guarantee
billions of dollars in construction loans for coal-to-liquid production
plants, guarantee minimum prices for the new fuel, and guarantee big
government purchases for the next 25 years¦
Among the proposed inducements winding through House and Senate
committees: loan guarantees for six to 10 major coal-to-liquid plants,
each likely to cost at least $3 billion; a tax credit of 51 cents for
every gallon of coal-based fuel sold through 2020; automatic subsidies
if oil prices drop below $40 a barrel; and permission for the Air Force
to sign 25-year contracts for almost a billion gallons a year of
coal-based jet fuel.
I understand how Sarah Palin and her supporters could miss this obscure bit of news, buried on the Front Page of the New York Times. They don’t read and they don’t care.
The Friends of the Earth environmental group endorsed John Edwards, and not Obama or Clinton in no small part because of this coal thing.
Q: What is your position on Coal to
Liquid technology? One Democratic presidential candidate cosponsored
a bill to provide taxpayer subsidies for this technology. Edwards
opposes CtL. What does using, let alone subsidizing, CtL really mean
for our environment?A: Liquid coal is a bad idea for our
country and planet. It contributes twice the amount of carbon emissions
to our atmosphere that petroleum does, consuming an inordinate amount
of water per unit of fuel, and requiring the expansion of ecologically
and socially disastrous mining practices. Unlike Clinton and Obama,
Edwards is the only leading candidate to oppose coal-to-liquid
We thought this was the ultimate stupid move for someone vying for the Democratic nomination. You should see my email:
So why then, environmentalists ask, is Obama backing a law supporting the expanded use of coal, whose emissions are cooking the globe? It seems the answer is twofold: his interest in energy independence — and his interest in downstate Illinois, where the senator’s green tinge makes the coal industry queasy.
The coal industry praises Obama’s reintroduction, with Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 last week, which would provide incentives for research and plant construction. The industry says the technology, which converts coal into diesel engine fuel, would reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil through a new, home-mined fuel that burns as cleanly as gasoline.
See, Edwards was much more enviro-friendly than either Clinton or Obama, as note at the time by Politico, much to the delight of the green contingent of Edwards’ supporters. I wasn’t really all that green for an Edwards backer, but I noted the argument, which is why I know the latest stuff about Obama out to bankrupt the coal industry is pure fantasy. We were bitching that Obama was in the pocket of Big Coal.
The Edwards website is history, but I’m sure there’s evidence in the Way-Back Machine. Edwards never directly mentioned his opposition to coal-to-liquid; his energy proposal included other means to utilize coal while reducing emissions, that and the absence of coal to liquid are indicated below in some of the Press Releases I saved when Obama’s stance on Liquid Coal became an issue. This was supposed to show a contrast with Obama:
Edwards opposes coal-to-liquid technology as a viable clean fuel alternative. John Edwards’ energy plan includes utilizing coal in a “major role” so that the U.S. and the world can meet its energy needs, but he has advocated for carbon capture methods so that hazardous carbon emissions are dramatically reduced. Edwards advocates for coal gasification technology and carbon sequestration technology in energy production, a method supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council to combat global warming.
EDWARDS PROPOSED INCREASED INVESTMENT FOR SAFE STORAGE OF CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL POWERED PRODUCTION
2007: Edwards Called For New Coal Power Plants To Have Coal Capture Technology So That Emissions Are Stored And Not Released Into the Atmosphere. “Edwards believes we need to find a way to use coal without heating the planet. As president, Edwards will require that all new coal-fired plants be built with the required technology to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, so plants built today will be able to permanently and safely store their carbon emissions tomorrow. He also committed to investing $1 billion a year in research and testing to jumpstart the means to store large amounts of carbon dioxide safely underground.” [Edwards for President press release, 3/26/07, http://johnedwards.com/news/headlines/20070326-cleaner-coal/]
As you can tell, we actually thought this was a smoking gun kind of issue, that the Al Gore wing of the Democratic Party could not possibly support Barack Obama mainly due to his friendly attitude on coal. For Sarah Palin and her drooling Wingnut circus to claim he’s out to destroy the industry is ludicrous.