Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama says his plan will bankrupt coal, raise energy costs

A YouTube video has appeared featuring audio of Obama's comments during an interview with a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle (the video says SF Gate, which is the name of the Chronicle's website) back in January. The Chronicle inexplicably failed to report on it. On the audio recording, Obama says:

What I've said is that we would put a cap-and-trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there. I was the first to call for a hundred-percent auction on the cap-and-trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that was emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted-down caps that are imposed every year.

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

[emphasis added]

Incredible that he can be so casual about destroying an industry and thousands upon thousands of jobs. He also acknowledged that energy costs for all of us would rise under his scheme:

When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations.

That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers.

How is that going to help the poor?

The Ohio Coal Association commented on the audio, saying: "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."

Chris Hamilton, the senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, described Obama's comments as "unbelievable." On Sunday, Hamilton said,
His comments are unfortunate and really reflect a very uninformed voice and perspective to coal specifically and energy generally.

In Ohio recently, when Joe Biden said 'not here' about building coal-fired power plants -- this is exactly what will happen. Financing won't be directed here. It will all go aboard for plants elsewhere in the world. The United Sates is importing more coal today from Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia than we ever have.

If we're going to create a situation where coal-fired power plants are at that much of a disadvantage, there will be new ones built. But as Biden said, just not here.
People in coal-belt states like Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania need to hear this.

I am thinking that if McCain had said anything similar, whether about this industry or any other, it would have been headlines for weeks. Instead, we have the media once again using the Obama campaign's talking points and pretending these comments were taken out of context. No bias here, folks.

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