Monday, March 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton Angers Greens On Mountaintop Removal

Hillary Clinton is taking heat from some environmental groups for backpedaling on mountaintop removal mining of coal while campaigning in West Virginia. Friends of the Earth (FOE) is her biggest critic on this retreat. Our president and FOE President Brent Blackwelder worked together in the 1980's. So did AAEA advisor John McCormick, who says don't rush to judgment on Clinton and holds Environmental Defense responsible for Appalachian mountaintop removal:

"Before folks go running off to condemn Senator Clinton, reflect a moment on the following: The Clean Air Act created a sulfur doixide cap-and-trade program to implement an acid rain reducion program back in the mid-90s.

Prior to Congress passing that law, Congressman Henry Waxman (as dedicated an environmental legislator as ever there was) introduced a bill to pay for installation of a sulfur dioxide removal scrubber for the 50 largest sulfur dioxide emitting power plants. Environmental Defense argued against it and said 'let the market decide how utility companies will reduce sulfur dioxide by the least expensive means.'

Well, the companies have done just that. They quit buying and mining the high sulfur coal of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky and shifted to the low sulfur coal seams in the high mountains of Appalachia. The US DOE Energy Information Administration Form 423 has the verifiable coal-purchase data to prove that fact. Go see for yourself.

When I once asked an Environmental Defense lobbyist how he defends SO2 cap-and-trade in light of mountaintop removal, he said "That was an unintended consequence". So, get the story straight and call back the mob." (From Grist Magazine

Of course, the EPA Acid Rain Program was a great success in reducing acid rain produced by sulure dioxide emissions. Hillary Clinton is right to be conflicted about coal use because it provides around 50% of the fuel to produce electricity, yet is the major greenhouse gas, and provides jobs in West Virginia. Senator Clinton serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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