the (new) american worker

Rockefeller Questions Obama’s Loyalty to Coal
February 5, 2010, 11:44 pm
Filed under: The Hill | Tags: , , , ,

If you’ve been following the clean coal debate, or any bit of Obama’s energy push at all, you know that the president has embraced a number of energies not so high on the “greenie” list: so-called clean coal and nuclear energy.

It’s been written that Obama’s enthusiasm for coal is not solely an effort to promote job creation in new, competitive energy industries, but also a subtle attempt to win over conservatives in the coal states.

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D) expressed skepticism over Obama's new love for the clean coal industry.

Well, in a budget hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller (D) suggested that it won’t be so easy for the president to win the miner’s heart.

From The New York Times:

“He says it in his speeches, but he doesn’t say it in here,” Rockefeller said, referring to the budget proposal. “He doesn’t say it in the actions of [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson. And he doesn’t say it in the minds of my own people. And he’s beginning to not be believable to me. So I want you to put me at rest or put me away.”

At issue was the administration’s decision to eliminate four tax breaks for the coal industry. Rockefeller also noted that the administration continues to shake a stick at mountain-top removal coal mining, a controversial process heavily criticized by environmental groups.

The Times writes that Orzag defended the President, noting that current proposals allot hundreds of millions of dollars for experimental carbon-capture technologies and other components of the clean coal movement.

The skepticism of Rockefeller and other “coal state” governors are an indication of just how difficult a future the president’s energy proposals – nevermind the cap-and-trade component – face on Capitol Hill. Obama seemed to walking the line quite well, if anything, he’s really bended towards the old guard of energy, fossil fuels like coal and nuclear.