Obama Supports Clean Coal in West Virginia

The 2005 Energy Bill was written behind closed doors by Dick Cheney and his oil & coal industry buddies. It did very little, if anything, to generate a net gain for the environment or for renewable energy technology. It did expand funding for coal and ethanol, both of which contribute to global warming and destruction of the environment.

Of the three existing mainstream candidates for President, only Obama supported the 2005 Energy Bill. Many claim that it would have been career suicide for him to oppose the bill because of his representation in the Senate of Illinois, a state with a lot of corn (ethanol) and a lot of coal.

Now that he is running for President, it is possible for Obama to distance himself from his support of corn based fuels and coal. Instead, he is pushing "clean coal" as an environmentally safe alternative energy source. Don't be fooled, clean coal is a misleading marketing ploy and Obama knows it.

Obama's main argument for his candidacy is that he is going to change Washington and to bring a new breed of politics to the White House. He says he will tell people what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. Yet, in West Virginia he is airing an ad that advances "clean coal" because it is a state where coal is economically important, and thereby politically popular. How disappointing.

What is clean coal? Essentially, clean coal is altered coal that burns in such a way that it is possible to capture the CO2 released and to hold that CO2 in a special chamber. First, this technology is often marketed as a currently viable solution to global warming. Carbon capturing does not exist now and will not exist for at least two decades. Second, even if the technology existed, we would be capturing CO2 in chambers that would need to be stored indefinitely, just like nuclear waste. We would be passing our energy mistakes onto our grandchildren. Third, extracting coal from the earth requires blowing the tops off of mountains and destroying entire ecosystems in the process.

I believed that Obama was being supportive of Illinois when he voted for the 2005 Energy Bill. Now that he is including "clean coal" as an important part of his presidential platform, I realize that his loyalties to the coal industry run deeper than originally presented. We have spent the last 8 years watching our environment be destroyed by an administration owned by the coal and oil industries. Isn't it heartbreaking to see we can expect the same from Obama?

Here is Obama's campaign advertisement promoting "clean coal" in West Virginia...

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