Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Biden: No to Clean Coal

During an interview while campaigning in Ohio, Joe Biden stated his opposition to clean coal power plants.(Hat tip: Drudge Report).

We’re not supporting clean coal...

No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they're going to build them, over there. Make them clean.
Never mind the open question of how you make China spend the money to use clean coal power plants over traditional ones. This statement is interesting because it contradicts the official stance on clean coal from the Obama-Biden campaign. From Obama's official website, under the heading of Create Millions of New Green Jobs:
Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
So which is it? This might just be another case of being tired out on the campaign trail but it is just one more example of Biden going off the playbook.

If this gets more press, it will be interesting how this plays in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky--you know, some of those states in the middle. Pennsylvania in particular has a huge vested interest in clean coal plants. From last fall:
The governor of Pennsylvania today announced his support to bring FutureGen, a $1.4 billion, coal-to-energy, zero-emissions facility, to Illinois.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell submitted a letter of support for neighboring Illinois.
Try to ignore the fact that little fact that Illinois isn't actually a neighboring state of Pennsylvania. (For the media I guess close counts in horseshoes and in geography.) The article continues:
Illinois offers the right mix of geology, expertise, transportation infrastructure, as well as the state and community support, which is necessary for a project of this magnitude," said Gov. Rendell in the letter.

"Illinois' natural characteristics are more common with other coal producing states like Pennsylvania that will look to replicate the technologies demonstrated by the FutureGen project," the governor wrote.
Indiana and Kentucky are also supportive of Illinois' efforts. Since the two states share the same coal basin, [Illinois] Governor Blagojevich and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a memo in December 2005 stating that Illinois' strong financial support for coal development, as well as its appealing geologic features, make the state the ideal host for the federally supported project.

Kentucky's Office of Energy Policy also supports Illinois' bid to attract FutureGen.
One of the things that would help out economies in the mid-west would a resurgence in power generation by coal. While there are no doubt environmental questions about the use of clean coal technologies, dismissing them out of hand is not going to be taken well in these states. Pennsylvania is already trending towards status as a battleground state. Biden just threw some more coal on the fire.

Update: I see Jay Cost agrees with me.

And Hot Air has a link to the Obama-Biden spokesperson's statement on the matter. The statement makes it clear that they do support clean coal and apparently Biden doesn't know that. Shouldn't Biden know that?

McCain has already picked up on the gaffe and inserted this into a campaign speech in Ohio.
My opponent is against the expansion of nuclear power," McCain said at a business stop in Strongsville, Ohio. "His running mate here in Ohio recently said that they weren’t supporting clean coal, either. And the fact is that their billions of dollars in higher taxes would kill jobs here in Ohio. That’s not what Ohio needs and that’s not what America needs. My economic focus throughout this campaign has always been pro-growth policies that will create jobs

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