( – promoted by buhdydharma )
In a press release I received today, Friends of the Earth Action criticized both leading Democratic presidential candidates for their recent anti-environment, pro-coal comments.
Senator Hillary Clinton expressed enthusiasm for coal and failed to condemn mountaintop removal during an interview yesterday on West Virginia Public Radio. Today, Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech in West Virginia advocating so-called “clean coal” as a solution to global warming.
Both are wrong.
“These comments raise serious questions about whether the Democratic candidates are as committed to clean energy as they claim to be,” Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder said. “Coal is not clean-period. And it is especially dirty and damaging when it is mined through the mountaintop removal process, in which mountains are literally blown to pieces, wiping vast swaths of nature off the map and polluting valleys, streams and rivers.”
Presidential candidates’ parroting of coal industry talking points raise questions about their commitment to clean energy; Clinton even equivocates on mountaintop removal
In her interview, Clinton said “coal fits in very importantly” to America’s energy future, arguing that “the challenge is how we are going to continue using coal” and using the coal industry’s misleading term “clean coal” to discuss proposed carbon capture and sequestration technology, which has not yet been proved to be technologically feasible or commercially viable.
When asked about the devastating practice of mountaintop mining, Clinton expressed concern but then attempted to frame the issue as a choice between an “economic and environmental trade-off,” which demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of the issue.
I am concerned about it for all the reasons people state, but I think its a difficult question because of the conflict between the economic and environmental trade-off that you have here. I’m not an expert. I don’t know enough to have an independent opinion, but I sure would like people who could be objective, understanding both the economic necessities and environmental damage to come up with some approach that would enable us to retrieve the coal but would enable us to do it in a way that wouldn’t damage the living standards and the other important qualities associated with people living both under the mountaintop and people who are along the streams. You know, maybe there is a way to recover those mountaintops once they have been stripped of the coal. You know, I think we’ve got to look at this from a practical perspective.
Dr. Brent Blackwelder and FoE Action reject Senator Clinton’s attempt to hide behind jobs:
“This jobs angle is so phony. Coal production in the U.S. has increased in the past 50 years but coal jobs have dropped more than 80 percent. This is not helping local economies. Mountaintop mining in particular harms the communities where the mining takes place, which tend to be the most impoverished communities in Appalachia.
“We need to envision a new healthy green economy for West Virginia, one in which we conserve energy and transition to clean energy alternatives, including solar and wind. It’s time to cut the coal.”
In his speech today in West Virginia, Obama advocated “investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to five million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs.” And his record leaves much room for improvement. Obama has worked closely with the coal industry in the past, supports coal subsidies and repeatedly uses the inaccurate term “clean coal” in his communications.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be freeing ourselves from the tyranny of oil, and saving this planet for our children. We could be investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to 5 million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs. And we could be doing it all for the cost of less than a year and a half in Iraq.
Dr. Blackwelder names the problem: Jusst being better than McCain ain’t good enough in this time of crisis.
“These candidates need to stop pandering and start being leaders,” Blackwelder said. “We’re in the midst of a global warming crisis and we need a president who will push for real solutions. The Democratic candidates’ plans are better than the anything we’ve seen from John McCain, but being better than McCain is not enough. Our planet faces a crisis the likes of which it has never seen. Where is the bold leadership our planet is calling for?”
Let’s tell Obama and Clinton that we care about our planet! Coal is not clean -period. Instead of fighting each other on petty, personal issues, put the planet first, because if we have no planet, no one gets to be President.