By Henry Decker

WATCH: Citing ‘War On Coal,’ Chamber Of Commerce Defends Mitch McConnell

December 3, 2013 12:36 pm Category: Memo Pad, Politics 6 Comments A+ / A-

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stepped up its defense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with a new television ad praising his efforts on behalf of the coal industry.

The ad, titled “Mitch McConnell — Fighting Hard for Kentucky Coal,” hit the airwaves on Tuesday.

“Coal means jobs in Kentucky,” the ad’s narrator says. “While the EPA and bureaucrats try to kill Kentucky’s coal industry, Mitch McConnell is fighting back, fighting hard, opposing regulations on coal, working to block the EPA and shut down the bureaucrats.”

The ad buy, which reportedly cost the Chamber of Commerce $182,240, is the lobbying group’s latest attempt to push back against Tea Party candidates like McConnell’s primary opponent, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin. Earlier this year, the Chamber enthusiastically backed Alabama Republican Bradley Byrne in his successful congressional campaign against far-right challenger Dean Young.

All three of the top candidates in the Kentucky Senate race have tried to cast themselves as defenders of the coal industry. McConnell frequently touts his strong record on coal, while Bevin has criticized the five-term incumbent for his vote in favor of the 1990 Clean Air Act. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes — who received the endorsement of the United Mine Workers of America on the way to winning her campaign for secretary of state in 2011 — has criticized McConnell for not adequately supporting the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act of 2013, which is currently being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives. Grimes has also said that she is “deeply” disappointed in the Obama administration’s proposed regulations on coal-fired power plants, and accused them of taking “direct aim at Kentucky jobs.”

There is reason to doubt that the “war on coal” — which has been drastically exaggerated — is actually an effective wedge issue. Mitt Romney’s relentless attacks on President Obama’s coal policies failed to flip coal-rich swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to the Republican column in 2012, and even National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich has since acknowledged that the “‘war on coal’ never resonated with much conviction among ordinary Americans.”

Early polling of the race suggests that McConnell holds a comfortable lead over Bevin in the Republican primary, but is running virtually even with Grimes.

WATCH: Citing ‘War On Coal,’ Chamber Of Commerce Defends Mitch McConnell Reviewed by on . The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stepped up its defense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with a new television ad praising his efforts on behalf The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stepped up its defense of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with a new television ad praising his efforts on behalf Rating:

More by Henry Decker

Poll: Latino Voters Overwhelmingly Back Obama On Immigration Action

Another poll finds the politics of immigration strongly favoring Democrats.

Read more...

Poll: Americans Broadly Back Obama’s Immigration Executive Action

A new survey finds that voters are very open to the president's immigration plan.

Read more...

This Week In Crazy: Immigration Meltdown Edition

Obama starts a new civil war, Latinos escalate the War on Whites, and so much more.

Read more...

Tags

Comments

  • tiredofitall

    And given that using coal as a source of energy is extremely dirty isn’t there a good reason why there is a war on coal? The miners are poorly paid, have no health benefits and the profits largely go to the mine or company owners?

    • Independent1

      I would think so, especially considering the following facts about how much pollution a typical coal-fired power plant puts into the environment each year:

      A typical-sized 500 megawatt coal-fired electricity plant in the United States
      puts out each year (from desmogblog.com):

      1. 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, and is the leading cause of global warming. There are no regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.

      2. 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide (SOx) is the main cause of acid rain, which damages forests, lakes and buildings.

      3. 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is a major cause of smog, and also a cause of acid rain.

      4. 500 tons of small particles. Small particulates are a health hazard, causing lung damage. Particulates smaller than 10 microns are not regulated, but may be soon.

      5. 220 tons of hydrocarbons. Fossil fuels are made of hydrocarbons; when they don’t burn completely, they are released into the air. They are a cause of smog.

      6. 720 tons of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas and contributor to global warming.

      7. 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge from the smokestack scrubber. A scrubber uses powdered limestone and water to remove pollution from the plant’s exhaust. Instead of going into the air, the pollution goes into a landfill or into products like concrete and drywall. This ash and sludge consists of coal ash, limestone, and many pollutants, such as toxic metals like lead and mercury.

      8. 225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, and many other toxic heavy metals. Mercury emissions from coal plants are suspected of contaminating lakes and rivers in northern and northeast states and Canada. In Wisconsin alone, more than 200 lakes and rivers are contaminated with mercury. Health officials warn against eating fish caught in these waters, since mercury can cause birth defects, brain damage and other ailments.

      9. Trace elements of uranium. All but 16 of the 92 naturally occurring elements have been detected in coal, mostly as trace elements below 0.1 percent (1,000 parts per million, or ppm). A study by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Lab found that radioactive emissions from coal combustion are greater than those from nuclear power production.

      10. A 500 megawatt coal-fired electrical plant burns 1,430,000 tons of coal, uses 2.2 billion gallons of water and 146,000 tons of limestone a year.

      • jointerjohn

        The EPA just cracked down on a polluting lead processing facility in Michigan. The nutty right wing noise machine is calling it an Obama move to make bullets unavailable to citizens so they can then come door-to-door and confiscate guns. They never miss a chance to spin something into the ridiculous.

        • tdm3624

          Where is the facility located? (I live in West Michigan)

  • halslater

    How about re-framing the discussion to… “Kentucky is taking direct aim at America’s health, just to make a buck.” Their need to make a profit on a harmful substance must take a back seat to our need to breathe clean air. They need to leave coal in the ground until they find another economic use for the stuff than burning it.

    • Independent1

      What a lot of folks don’t realize is how far the pollution from the mid-west coal fired power plants can travel. We live on an island about 20 miles west of Acadia National Park, which itself is on Mt. Desert Island of Down East, Maine, and the pollution from the mid-west coal fired power plants some days creates such bad air in Acadia National Park that a hazardous air day has to be declared; and there have even been days when the park has been shut down because the air is so hazardous to breathe.

scroll to top