Biden: 'No coal plants here in America'
- 09-23-2008, 12:41 PM
Biden: 'No coal plants here in America'
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rXyTRT-NZg"]YouTube - Joe Biden on Renewables and Coal in Maumee, OH[/ame]
Some great rope line video from Joe Biden's recent Ohio swing, where he was asked by an anti-pollution campaigner about clean coal -- a controversial approach in Democratic circles for which Obama has voiced support, particularly during the Kentucky primary.
Biden's apparent answer: He supports clean coal for China, but not for the United States.
"No coal plants here in America," he said. "Build them, if they're going to build them, over there. Make them clean."
"We’re not supporting clean coal," he said of himself and Obama. They do, on paper, support clean coal.
The answer seems to play into John McCain's case that Obama has been saying "no" to new sources of energy.
In the primary, Biden opposed Obama's push for clean coal, which is seen as a way of maintaining or expanding America's coal-burning power plants -- many of which are in rust belt swing states.
"I don't think there's much of a role for clean coal in energy independence, but I do think there's a significant role for clean coal in the bigger picture of climate change," he told Grist last year. "Clean-coal technology is not the route to go in the United States, because we have other, cleaner alternatives," he said, but added that America should push for a "fundamental change in technology" to clean up China's plants.
Biden also was not shy on his own clean energy credentials.
"The first guy to introduce a global warming bill was me 22 years ago. The first guy to support solar energy was me 20 years ago," he said, apparently referring to the 1986 Global Climate Protection.
Think Progress has some more context, and Jake Tapper reports that Obama this morning rebuked Biden on a separate issue, his quick opposition to a federal bailout.
Today, Senator John McCain pounced on Biden's remarks.
"I am going to put in place the priorities and policies that will create jobs in Ohio. One important way that we are going to create jobs here is with the development of additional nuclear plants and through investments in clean coal technology," he said. "[Obama's] running mate here in Ohio recently said that they weren’t supporting clean coal."
Biden spokesman David Wade responded by calling McCain's statement "yet another false attack from a dishonorable campaign."
He continued: "Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama and Senator Biden support clean coal technology. Senator Biden’s point is that China is building coal plants with outdated technology every day, and the United States needs to lead by developing clean coal technologies."
But the error here does seem to be Biden's, and his remarks, and his apparent return to his primary position Tuesday, were striking because just three days ago, he praised the possibilities of coal to a crowd at the United Mine Workers of America annual fish fry in Castlewood, Va.
“You know we have enough coal in the United States of America to meet out needs domestically for the better part of the next hundred to 200 years,” Biden said before launching into a critique of McCain’s energy priorities, slamming his support for billions in tax breaks for oil companies as the industry rakes in record profits.
“Imagine ... what Barack and I can do taking that $4 billion … and investing it in coal gasification, finding out what we can do with carbon sequestration, finding out how we can burn the coal that you dig that can free us from being dependent on foreign oil countries and at the same time not ruin the environment. That’s within our capacity to do it, if you give me $4 billion I promise you, I promise you we will find the answer,” Biden said.
He linked the ticket’s support for coal with their call to have U.S. automakers produce plug-in electric cars. “Where’s that [electricity] come from? That comes from a utility. What do utilities burn? They burn coal mostly.”
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