“Coal Caucus” Joins Industry Lobbyists to Sabotage Clean Energy

You want an assignment for 2010? Go after the six politicians listed in the article below. Instead of acting as voices for the millions of everyday Americans who will benefit from the prosperity of a clean energy economy, these Congressman have decided to become the lap-dogs of the coal industry. Today, kids will go to school at Marsh Fork Elementary school in West Virginia, just 400 yards below a weakening, earthen dam holding back billions of gallons of toxic coal sludge. They deserve better than a politician who’s selling their future to the highest bidder.

Coal Finally Gets a Voice in Congress

By Kate Sheppard, Reposted from Mother Jones

The coal industry has never seemed to have much difficulty pushing its views on Capitol Hill. In 2008 alone, the industry spent more than $47 million on lobbying and ad campaigns aimed at winning lawmakers’ loyalty—and thanks to its efforts, received $60 billion in the House cap-and-trade bill to develop coal capture-and-storage technology. Nevertheless, some legislators apparently feel that the coal lobby has been unfairly marginalized, and so they’ve formed a bipartisan coal caucus to stand up for “America’s most abundant and affordable energy resource.”

The new grouping includes Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), John Salazar (D-Col.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.). All  of them voted against the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. Their opposition came even as Rick Boucher (D-Va.), another reliable coal booster, hailed it as a boon for the industry. The new coal caucus seems to be much more about saving face with the coal industry and than anything else.

“The Coal Caucus gives coal states like Pennsylvania a strong voice in Congress to encourage the use of coal as an affordable, reliable and increasingly clean source of energy,” said Holden in a statement, who also touted his support for government investment in carbon storage technology. But the views in the caucus on this aren’t necessarily shared. Shimkus, for example, believes that the planet is “carbon-starved” and worries that regulations on emissions means “taking away plant food from the atmosphere.” If that’s the case, why would one think that the industry needs massive funding to capture and store carbon dioxide?

The six are also seeking additional legislators for their caucus, and will likely manage to pick up a few extra members—perhaps Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) who jumped out of a plane to demonstrate his support for coal last year, or maybe one of the Republicans who let the industry write their talking points in the House.

1 Response to ““Coal Caucus” Joins Industry Lobbyists to Sabotage Clean Energy”

  1. 1 Wonk Room » Obama Claims We Can’t Repower America With Clean Energy Trackback on Feb 10th, 2010 at 10:30 am
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About Jamie

Jamie is the co-coordinator of 350.org, an international global warming campaign. A recent college graduate, he lives in San Francisco, CA. In 2007, he co-organized Step It Up, a campaign that pulled together over 2,000 climate rallies across the United States to push for strong climate action at the federal level. He's also an early member of the youth climate movement, leading one of Energy Action's first campaigns in 2005: Road to Detroit, a nationwide veggie-oil bus tour to promote sustainable transportation. He's traveled to Montreal and Bali to lobby the UN with youth, but he's a strong believer that change happens in the streets not in meetings. Jamie received the Morris K. Udall award in 2007 and has been recognized by the mighty state of Vermont for his work on climate change. You can also find him blogging at Campus Progress' "Pushback," Changents.com, and 350.org.

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