Sunday, March 15, 2009

Creigh Deeds, Coal Industry Spokesman?

Creigh Deeds is a very nice guy that I don't enjoy criticizing. He pushed several good clean energy bills in this year's Virginia Senate and has properly opposed drilling along Virginia's coast.

But in an interview last week with Lowell Feld of Blue Virginia, Deeds showed why progressives are turning away from his campaign and towards the clean energy policies of Brian Moran and (to a lesser extent) Terry McAuliffe.

At a time when President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and his two competitors are all pushing for a clean energy future, Deeds instead parroted the coal industry's favorite catch phrases and scare tactics. To listen to Deeds, the only reason coal remains the dirtiest source of energy on the planet is that we haven't already dumped enough billions of research dollars into it. Like a bailout that never ends, we need to keep those billions flowing:



Deeds sounds like he's selling coal air freshener. We need to harness the awesome power of the word "clean"!

Look, coal is still dirty because no one has figured out a cost-effective way to capture and store its carbon dioxide emissions. Even if that technology does come along, it will add an estimated 25 percent to the cost of producing coal-fired power (which has already gone up 20 percent in Virginia just since September). And that doesn't get into coal's other emissions that include mercury, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates.

We don't need another four years of a governor telling us we can't get off coal and all we can do is sit on our hands, wishin' and hopin' for the day carbon capture and storage comes along. We need to begin to transition off dirty coal & oil and onto clean energy, and we need to start right now.

Deeds also fumbled Lowell's question on mountaintop removal, bizarrely beginning his answer by saying "the coal industry calls it surface mining." Huh? Bernie Madoff didn't call his investment firm Ponzi Scheme Inc., but that's what it was. Again, it's hard to imagine a coal industry spokesman answering the question much differently.

I like Creigh Deeds. He's still be better on the environment than presumptive Republican nominee Bob McDonnell. But at a time when we desperately need real change on energy policy to save consumers money and protect Virginia's natural resources, Deeds sounds far too much like more of the same.
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