Coal Tattoo

State of the Union: Not much about coal

President Obama didn’t have much to say about coal during last night’s State of the Union address. But he did talk just a bit about a few things that certainly impact the coal industry. Here are the excerpts:

The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted …

… Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.  So here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.  Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.  Send me a bill that creates these jobs.

… But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.   I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.

By my count, it’s been two years since the president directly mentioned coal in his State of the Union. Some may recall that this is what he said during his 2010 address:

… To create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

I haven’t seen statements from all of West Virginia’s congressional delegation members, but Sen. Joe Manchin never misses a chance to criticize his party’s president and defend the coal industry:

When it comes to energy and regulations, I’m hopeful that when the President looks for overregulation, the first place he looks is his own EPA, which is making it extremely difficult for us to provide the energy this nation needs at affordable prices. I still have a hard time understanding how you can have a comprehensive energy plan in America without coal – when coal produces nearly 50 percent of our energy and knowing that new technologies can make it much cleaner.