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Caserta: Obama's position on clean coal unbelievable

Mar. 04, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

How important is the coal industry to West Virginia?

According to the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health, Safety and Training, the coal industry provides about 40,000 direct jobs in the state, including those for miners, mine contractors, coal preparation plant employees and mine supply company workers.

West Virginia has 4 percent of all coal reserves, with coal occurring in 43 of West Virginia's 55 Counties and is the second largest coal-producing state in the country behind Wyoming.

Miners in our Great State lead the nation in underground coal production and lead the nation in coal exports with over 50 million tons shipped to 23 countries.

How important is coal to the United States and other nations?

100 coal plants across the nation are responsible for 49 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, more than any other single electricity fuel source.

The future of West Virginia is dependent upon the future of coal, yet some do not feel the urgent need to protect coal, or West Virginia.

Barack Obama feels coal should be "taken off the table" and says he will use "aggressive measures" to ensure that the coal mining industry stops polluting.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, on January 17, 2008, Obama candidly stated his terms when it came to increased coal production:

"I was the first to call for 100 percent auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

But coal miners and unions don't be dismayed; rest assured Barack Obama is still on your side. NOT!

The senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association called Obama's comments "unbelievable."

"His comments are unfortunate," Chris Hamilton, "and really reflect a very uninformed voice and perspective to coal specifically and energy generally."

Even our very own U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has had his fill of Obama's fight against clean coal technology.

Recently, Rockefeller spoke out about some comments he made in a Senate Finance Committee meeting when it came to the White House budget and clean coal, stating he doesn't feel there is adequate funding in the budget to support clean coal technology and research.

"He (Obama) says 'I'm for clean coal,' and then says it in his speeches, but then doesn't say it in here," Rockefeller said. "And he doesn't say it in the minds of my own people. And he's beginning to not be believable to me."

Well, welcome to Obamaland, senator!

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald- Dispatch editorial page.

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