Kentucky lawmakers demonstrate how to defend dirty coal subsidies
Cross-posted from Wonk Room.
President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget would cut $2.28 billion in coal subsidies over the next decade. These $228 million-a-year cuts are dwarfed by the $545 million-a-year subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration technology, which Obama insists on calling “clean coal technology.” How are Kentucky lawmakers responding to this effective doubling of subsidies for the coal industry? By using Orwellian language — “coal” becomes “domestic energy production” — to defend the existing subsidies and attack Obama for destroying jobs.
Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), who has received $91,042 from oil and coal interests.
We’ll have to examine the new budget proposal we received this morning, but we are very concerned about any possible impact this repeal could have on Kentucky jobs.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who has received $691,565 from oil and coal interests:
The president can’t have it both ways. You can’t seek to end our dependence on foreign oil and get America working, while at the same time imposing policies that harm domestic energy production and kill jobs. This is just another politically motivated assault that takes dead aim at coal, severely limiting coal companies in their ability to create jobs and keep production lines open. Worst of all, it hurts Appalachia’s hardworking coal mining families at a time when the commonwealth faces over 10.7 percent unemployment.
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), who has received $782,449 from oil and coal interests.
These new taxes will mean less domestic energy production, a substantial increase in the price of power for American homes and businesses, less revenue, as well as jeopardizing thousands of jobs. I would encourage the administration to refocus their attention on funding clean coal technologies, along with the commercial deployment of advanced technologies that are necessary to ensure the United States has clean, reliable, and affordable energy.
To be fair, Rep. Chandler is in a completely different category of politician from Rogers and Bunning, who have received hundreds of thousands of dollars more cash from the industry. For example, Chandler is one of the leading coal-state politicians who publicly recognizes the destructive nature of mountaintop removal:
Mountaintop removal can be a destructive process that damages our communities, our land, and our water. Today’s agreement between the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers to further regulate the practice is a step in the right direction. Starting today, federal agencies will review each individual mountaintop removal permit request, further investigate the practice, and expand community involvement. These actions will help eliminate shortcuts, provide greater transparency, and ensure proper regulatory scrutiny.