Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More about coal

link to book Coming Clean on Sierra Club websiteObama and McCain praised "clean" coal again last night - and McCain talked about putting up lots and lots of nuclear plants. (Goody! one on every corner, like gas stations or Starbucks!) The LATImes today even mentioned Obama's support for "clean coal" in an editorial today that was about McCain's dilemma, not coal or even Obama.

Obama offered openings. His support for "clean coal" is oxymoronic and transparently political. His message on global warming is undermined by his support for expanded domestic oil drilling.

But there was another debate last night that was all about "clean" coal. Democracy Now sponsored Can Coal Be Clean? A Debate Between Michael Brune of Rainforest Action Network and Joe Lucas of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (Brune is the author of the book show here, Coming Clean, Breaking American's Addition to Oil and Coal, sponsored by - and available from -the Sierra Club.) You have the option of reading the text, listening to the debate or watching it on a variety of video formats. I recommend watching, because it is accompanied by a lot of pictures of coal power plants, coal mines and air pollution, that give you a good idea about what they're talking about. It ends with a great song about mountaintop removal before going on to another topic (War and Peace.)

Another interesting website is called Follow the Coal Money, where you can track which politicians have received money from Big Coal (and there's a link to track contributions from Big Oil as well.)
For example:

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
Accepted $17,100 from the coal industry since 2000. $13,000 of those dollars were from industry PACS.
All contributions since 2000: $17,100
110th Congress (2007-2008): $0
109th Congress (2005-2006): $2,000
Pre-term contributions: $15,100
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Accepted $51,850 from the coal industry since 2000. $36,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS.
All contributions since 2000: $51,850
110th Congress (2007-2008): $0
109th Congress (2005-2006): $5,000
108th Congress (2003-2004): $28,850
107th Congress (2001-2002): $0
106th Congress (1999-2000): $18,000

The only reason it doesn't show any contributions this year is, of course, that they're going into different accounts this year.

I thought a few more links might be interesting, both for and against:

I'll write another entry soon about some of the books I've read recently. (I just ordered Coming Clean, so I'll have to wait with that one.)


Kristin said...

It's not just about coal! There's a similar page for oil money ( that has the added advantage of allowing you to print out "Oily Dollar Bills" with a member's name, picture, and total amount of oil money they've received. You can pass them out at actions, send them in to the congresspeople, be creative.

Look up your state's representatives. What you find might not be surprising, but it's crucial this close to the election. Let's make sure our elected officials represent us--NOT the fossil fuel industry.

Kate said...

The fact that the future President of the United States is even using the term "Clean Coal" is a little scary. Presidential candidates are supposed to be some of the most intelligent, level-headed people in the United States, yet there are two of them currently blabbering about something called "clean coal." It does NOT exist. Clean coal is NOT a solution to our energy crisis and rather than putting money into this horrible effort, we should be putting it into truly clean energy alternatives such as solar and wind.

Oil Change International is a great organization for information on this subject. They track the money that coal and oil companies give to our government and studies have shown that the more money a rep receives, the more likely they are to vote against clean energy alternatives. This does not sound like democracy to me!

bonbayel said...

I agree with both of you. Thanks, Kristin, for pointing out the oil page as well.

I've gotten stuck in a rut on coal recently. It's as if Obama is sort of on topic talking about oil..(except his voting for offshore drilling, of course!)

But every time I hear the word "coal" coming from his mouth, I about go through the wall. Now my husband knows to expect it. Last time, he immediately looked at me when the dirty 4-letter word was used!

There is so much obvious evidence that increased drilling, coal and nuclear won't do what the politicians pretend they will do.
I just hope that they are "politicking" and won't follow up on those promises!