When I heard it on the radio I couldn't believe it. Senator Jay Rockefeller stabbed the Number One industry in his state in the back. Big time. By siding with the "carbon footprint" loons:
Rockefeller says coal industry needs to 'face reality'When I first heard of Rockefeller's betrayal, my reaction was this: He just bought himself a reelection fight in 2014. But according to this article he may not seek reelection at all. Thus the restraints holding down his liberal bent have fallen away.
By Ry Rivard, Charleston Daily Mail Capitol Reporter
Charleston, W.Va. -- West Virginia coal operators must stop shrugging off climate change and pollution-related health problems to "face reality" about the future of coal, Sen. Jay Rockefeller said in a stern and stunning speech on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Rockefeller, D-W.Va., accused the coal industry of scare tactics. He said after years of industry opposition to new environmental regulations, the "bitterness of the fight has taken on more importance than any potential solution."
"The dialogue on coal, its impact and federal government's role has reached a stunningly fevered pitch -- carefully orchestrated messages that strike fear into the hearts of West Virginians and feed uncertainty about coal's future are the subject of millions of dollars of paid television ads, billboards, break room bulletin boards, public meetings, letters and lobbying campaigns," he said.
"A daily onslaught declares that coal is under siege from harmful outside sources and that the future of the state is bleak unless we somehow turn back the clock, ignore the present and block the future."
Rockefeller's remarks came amid an attempt by the Senate to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing its new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards Rule.
The maneuver failed.
Rockefeller, as he made clear in his remarks, opposed the effort to block the rule.
The new EPA rule is targeted at reducing emissions, particularly mercury, from coal-fired power plants nationwide. The regulatory agency expects the rule to avert 11,000 pollution-related premature deaths. Rockefeller said pollution-related health concerns were being "demeaned" in the whole debate over the rule, which will also increase utility costs.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said Rockefeller's remarks were historic and courageous.
Members of the business community were shocked by Rockefeller's speech, said West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts said.
When a reporter called, Roberts answered his phone, "This is Capito for United States Senate headquarters."
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is considered a possible U.S. Senate candidate. Rockefeller is next on the ballot in 2014 - if he runs again.
West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Jason Bostic said he thought it was clear the Obama administration was not a friend to coal mining, particularly Appalachian mining. He said it didn't make sense to accuse the industry of fear mongering because the mineworkers union also opposed the EPA rule.
"How dare a U.S. senator accuse organizations as broad as the United Mine Workers and the Coal Association of fear mongering," Bostic said. "If it's real, how can it be fear mongering?"
Back in West Virginia, business and industry leaders were dismayed by Rockefeller's vote and speech, Roberts said.
Roberts said he felt Rockefeller ignored his constituents and cast a vote that "is disappointing in unbelievable terms."
"Not only a vote, but a speech that is reverberating through the coal community in ways that I really haven't seen another very senior United States senator give anti-coal speeches," Roberts said, referring to Byrd's end-of-career remarks.
Roberts said he didn't think Rockefeller's remarks would be helpful to other Democrats in an election year.
"In case I'm not direct enough: I think this potentially hurts other Democrats on the ticket because at some point somebody is going to ask the question, 'What side are you on?'" Roberts said. [link]
The people of West Virginia deserved better than this. But then they elected the bastard. Over and over again.
Guess we can't feel too sorry when more and more of them are thrown out of work as the EPA continues its inexorable war on coal.
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Speaking of the loons whose side Rockefeller has chosen to take, here's a quote from one over in Boone County, heart of the coalfields:
Rockefeller's speech seemed destined to be quoted again and again by those who agree. Both messages tell the industry to change itself and both are by senators who worked repeatedly on behalf of coal industry interests.Not that this nitwit will really care, but the people in her mining community in Boone - the ones Rockefeller "truly cares" about - are unemployed in record numbers all of a sudden, as the EPA's efforts to destroy their livelihoods succeed, as coal-fired power plants around the country begin to be shut down.
Maria Gunnoe, a community organizer in Boone County who works to end mountaintop removal, said she couldn't stop reading Rockefeller's speech.
"I was just reading it for the fifth time," she said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening. "I can't quit reading it, actually. I've read it and thought about it and go back to it and read it again."
Gunnoe said Rockefeller "truly cares" about people in mining communities.