As if yesterday’s announcement of the Manchin administration’s lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t enough to show exactly where the governor stands on coal …
Last week, we walked through the problems with Republican Senate candidate John Raese’s efforts to paint West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin as the anti-coal candidate.
A few hours after that Coal Tattoo post went live, the fine folks at FactCheck.org offered their own review of Raese’s “Cap and Trade” ad attacking Gov. Manchin. Their conclusion? In a post called “Dust-up in Coal Country,” FactCheck says:
Raese says that Manchin “passed a law that eliminates 25 percent of coal usage in our power plants.” But that’s not true. The Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act, which the governor signed in 2009, calls for 10 percent of the electricity generated by the plants to come from “alternative and renewable energy resources” by 2015, ramping up to 25 percent by 2025.
What counts as “alternative and renewable?” A variety of processes that fall under the rubric of “advanced coal technology,” such as carbon capture-and-storage and advanced supercritical boilers. Electricity generated from waste coal as well as coal gasification and liquefaction qualifies too.
FactCheck goes on:
Is this a law that comes down hard on West Virginia’s coal industry and will lead to lost jobs? Has Manchin “thrown us under the bus,” as Raese puts it in his ad? Not according to the West Virginia Coal Association, which represents most of the coal producers in the state.
“We don’t think it’s a hit at all,” said Bill Raney, the group’s president, in an interview with FactCheck.org. For one thing, he said, the requirements only apply to electricity sold in-state, or about one-third of the power generated by the plants. In addition, according to Raney, there is already enough power being generated via these “alternative” processes by coal-burning plants to put them in compliance with the 2015 mandate. “When this bill was passed, we were there,” he said. Three plants are currently burning waste coal, for instance, he noted.
Not for nothing, though … neither Gov. Manchin or John Raese provide any detailed discussion on their Web sites (see here and here) to inform voters about how they would handle coal-related issues in Congress, such as proposals for tougher mine safety laws, reducing the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal coal-mining, addressing the expected decline in Central Appalachian coal production, or deploying carbon capture and storage technology that might help save some coal jobs in the region.