“He came to southern Illinois and seen the devastation and the loss of the jobs in this coal industry,” says miner Randy Henry in the ads, which are appearing in the Lexington and Bowling Green television markets. “Washington, D.C., is not listening to us. Barack understands it.”
The commercial goes on to highlight Obama’s role in pushing through a budget provision in 2007 that directed $200 million toward “clean coal” technology, which he cosponsored with Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.
It should again be noted that Obama’s endorsement of “clean coal” is somewhat disingenuous: There are no high-tech coal facilities in Kentucky of the sort that might be called “clean” — no IGCC plants, no systems to capture and store carbon. The one proposed IGCC plant in the state hasn’t yet broken ground, and most experts predict that wide-scale carbon sequestration is still a decade away. Obama’s own climate and energy adviser has said that “his carbon cap program … will make it absolutely ludicrous to even contemplate any type of coal, new coal, that is not 100 percent sequestered.” Oh, and don’t forget that in the meantime, the dirty variety of coal has made a big ol’ mess in the state and left many Kentuckians to deal with leveled mountains, poor health, and poverty.
But Obama’s not the only one making coal panders in Kentucky this week. Here’s Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Louisville on Friday night: “We’re sitting on a huge natural resource,” she told the crowd. She went on to pledge to invest more federal funds in carbon sequestration projects.