Kerry Trumpets the Benefits of Coal

In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the swing state of West Virginia, which (like so many other things) cost him the election. Many observers speculated that the loss resulted from Gore’s reputation as a “radical” environmentalist, particularly his opposition to coal, which many state residents depend on for their livelihoods. John Kerry seems determined to avoid Gore’s fate. In a campaign press release last week, he was quoted as saying, “Coal is abundant, coal mining creates jobs, and I believe that with the right investment and commitment coal can be an even cleaner part of America’s energy future.” Kerry promised $10 billion for development of technology to make coal burn cleaner, aligning himself with the state’s popular Sen. Robert Byrd (D), who is renowned for funneling federal pork to West Virginia. Robert Rupp, a political science professor, admired the political maneuver, saying Kerry was “covering both bases” — coal miners and environmentalists. Apparently nobody told Rupp that many enviros view “clean coal” as an oxymoron.