Sen. Rockefeller Launches Duplicitous Attack On Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Another conservative Democrat has joined the mob attacking the Clean Air Act in an attempt to make the world safe for big polluters. Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D – WV) introduced legislation that would ensure that we’re two years closer to an irreversible climate tipping point before the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s especially egregious about Rockefeller’s legislation — besides the obvious, I mean — is the duplicitous manner in which he announced it. Here’s the title of the press release Rockefeller’s office put out: “ROCKEFELLER INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO SUSPEND EPA ACTION AND PROTECT CLEAN COAL STATE ECONOMIES.”

Get that? He’s just trying to protect “clean coal state economies.” Except, of course, there is no such thing as “clean coal,” so you can’t possibly have a “clean coal state economy.”

And it appears Rockefeller knows that. From the press release: “Today, we took important action to safeguard jobs, the coal industry, and the entire economy as we move toward clean coal technology.”

So which is it, Senator Rockefeller? Are you protecting “clean coal state economies,” as the title says? Or are you trying to create the space for those mythical “clean coal economies” to develop at some unspecified point in the future, as the press release goes on to suggest? Because you can’t have it both ways.

It’s also entirely possible that Rockefeller is actually doing nothing more than protecting the profits of his top donors, many of whom happen to be coal companies and coal-burning utilities like Peabody Energy, American Electric Power, CONSOL Energy, and Foundation Coal (which merged with Alpha Natural Resources to form the “third-largest coal company” last year).

Because if Sen. Rockefeller really wanted to protect the economy of West Virginia, he would be supporting renewable energy. The wind power industry already employs more people than the coal mining industry. With the rate at which wind power is currently growing, imagine how many more jobs would be created for West Virginians and all other Americans if more of our elected representatives were helping usher in a clean energy economy rather than propping up dirty energy industries.

Oh wait, we don’t need to imagine. According to this report, about 2.7 million more jobs would be created by a shift towards renewable energy than would be created if we stick with dirty fossil fuels.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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