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Obama Called Out for Comments About Bankrupting Coal Fired Power Plants

By: Michael Wooten Email
By: Michael Wooten Email

UPDATE @ 1:50pm
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin appeared on CNBC Monday to discuss the coal controversy.

Governor Manchin says he believes Obama's statements were taken out of context.

Manchin also says he believes "West Virginia is going to be the sleeper for Barack Obama." He believes Obama could win the state in Tuesday's election and that he will be our next President.

He says Obama is the better man to help the nation's struggling economy.



United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement:

"Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, have once again demonstrated that they are willing to say anything and do anything to win this election. Their latest twisting of the truth is about coal and some comments Sen. Obama made last January about the future use of coal in America.

Here what the McCain campaign left out of Sen. Obama’s actual words: ‘But this notion of no coal, I think, is an illusion. Because the fact of the matter is, is that right now we are getting a lot of our energy from coal. And China is building a coal-powered plant once a week. So what we have to do then is figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gases and carbon. And how can we sequester that carbon and capture it.'

Sen. Obama has been consistent with that message not just in the coalfields, but everywhere else he goes as well. Despite what the McCain campaign and some far right-wing blogs would have Americans believe, Sen. Obama has been and remains a tremendous supporter of coal and the future of coal.

I noted that Sen. McCain even went so far yesterday as to say he has always been a supporter of coal. I wonder, then, how he can justify his statement at a Senate hearing in 2000 that, ‘In a perfect world we would like to transition away from coal entirely,’ and his leading role in sponsoring legislation in 2003 that would have wiped out 78 percent of all coal production in America?

Fortunately, UMWA members, their families and their friends and neighbors in the coalfields know all too well what is going on here. They’re not going to fall for it, and we urge others throughout America who care about coal to review what the candidates’ records on coal actually are. We are confident that once they do, and once they see the many other benefits to working families of voting for Sen. Obama, they will make the right choice for themselves and their families."


Monday, the Ohio Coal Association sent out a news release in reference to the story.

Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association (OCA), today issued the following statement in response to just-released remarks from Senator Barack Obama about the nation's coal industry.

"Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America's coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

"These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like 'I haven't been some coal booster' and 'if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them' are extraordinarily misguided.

"It's evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state's voters.

"Senator Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a short- sighted, inexperienced politician willing to say anything to get a vote. But today, the nation's coal industry and those who support it have a better understanding of his true mission, to 'bankrupt' our industry, put tens of thousands out of work and cause unprecedented increases in electricity prices.

"In addition to providing an affordable, reliable source of low-cost electricity, domestic coal holds the key to our nation's long-term energy security - a goal that cannot be overlooked during this time of international instability and economic uncertainty.

"Few policy areas are more important to our economic future than energy issues. As voters head to the polls tomorrow, it is essential they remember that access to reliable, affordable, domestic energy supplies is essential to economic growth and stability."

The Ohio Coal Association (OCA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of Ohio's underground and surface coal mining producers. The OCA represents nearly 40 coal producing companies and more than 50 Associate Members, which include suppliers and consultants to the mining industry, coal sales agents and brokers and allied industries. The Ohio Coal Association is committed to advancing the development and utilization of Ohio coal as an abundant, economic and environmentally sound energy source.



Statement by Senator Jay Rockefeller:

“The claims you are hearing from the McCain/Palin campaign are misleading and untrue.

Barack Obama has been very clear with me and with you on his plan for clean coal – and it’s the most aggressive plan in support of clean coal we’ve seen from any presidential candidate.

The idea that the McCain/Palin campaign is alleging the day before the election that Barack Obama’s commitment to coal is anything but solid is absolutely ridiculous.

This is exactly the kind of deceptive politicking voters are fed up with.”


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With only hours before election day, coal has become a major topic of Decision 2008.

Sunday, comments resurfaced from a taped interview Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama did with the San Francisco Chronicle in January.

In the interview, which has been available online for months, Obama talks about the importance of coal. He went on to talk about his cap and trade proposal to help curb global warming.

"If somebody wants to build a coal power plant they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Barack Obama said to the San Francisco Chronicle in January.

The campaign for Republican presidential candidate John McCain jumped on those comments today and is already sending out taped phone messages to voters in Ohio.

Campaigning in Marietta today, McCain's running mate Sarah Palin mentioned the Obama comments.

"He said that, sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry, and he's comfortable letting that happen. And you got to listen to the tape," Sarah Palin said.

The Obama campaign says the quote is being taken out of context and that Obama is actually from a coal state and is a strong supporter of the industry.

The campaign sent a statement today saying "the point Obama is making is that we need a transition from coal burning power plants built with old technology to plants built with advanced technologies."

Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out the interview has been available on its website since January. It was critical of blogs which claimed the audio was hidden until this point.

More information is provided in the link below.


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