Coal Tattoo


Yesterday, the NRDC Action Fund sent out a strong attack on Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, saying:

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito has received $865,436 from the Mining Industry over the course of her career. This is more money than any other House or Senate candidate besides House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But, while she hopes to turn this Senate seat from blue to red, it also appears that she plans to turn our air black as she pushes for more coal in our national energy mix.

Mining interests support Capito, and she has supported them by voting numerous times against the health and safety of Americans. In 2013 alone, she voted against safeguards for the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the lands that belong to the American public. She voted to allow coal companies to continue polluting America’s waterways with toxic coal ash, voted to block the federal government from setting protections around hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) for natural gas and oil, and also voted against allowing the Department of Interior to limit methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations. This is why Capito’s voting record earned her a score of only 4 percent in 2013 from the League of Conservation Voters.

The group continued:

Capito already had an abysmal LCV lifetime score of 21 percent, but it appears that her voting is getting worse and worse over the years. Who knows how bad it will get if she makes it into the U.S. Senate?!

Rather than investing in clean energy jobs to stimulate West Virginia’s economy, she recently supported subsidies for dirty fossil fuels while cutting funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency. And she’s beating the war drum against the EPA’s plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants, showing up to oppose the regulations at an EPA hearing, and being a leading voice in Washington, D.C. in support of coal.

Finally, the NRDC said:

Our advice: While Capito claims to care about the future of America, she consistently votes against the health and safety of her constituents and of all Americans. She should support policies that invest in cleaner jobs for her people and cleaner energy for our future. Keeping Capito as far as possible from the U.S. Senate is the best decision for America’s people – our air, our water, our land, our economy and our health.

OK … but I wondered. What about Capitol’s Democratic opponent in the Senate race, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant? How do the good people at the NRDC feel about Secretary of State Tennant’s campaign ad showing her turning out the White House lights on the Obama administration, or about her campaign’s criticism of a federal program to help make industry in West Virginia more energy efficient, or about her refusal to even talk about the growing science showing that people who live near mountaintop removal mines face increases risk of birth defects, cancer and premature death? Are they happy to see Natalie Tennant take a shot at Republican Mitt Romney’s accurate statements that pollution from coal-fired power plants kills people? (By the way, I’ve been asking Tennant campaign spokeswoman Jenny Donohue if Secretary of State Tennant believes coal pollution doesn’t kill people … and she hasn’t responded).

So I asked. Here’s the response I received from the NRDC Action Fund’s Melissa Harrison:

The #DirtyDenier$ campaign is focusing on members of Congress who cast dirty votes and accept campaign contributions from polluters. Our choice of Rep. Capito has nothing to do with her opponent, rather her poor history of supporting clean air and action on climate change. As you saw in our blog, she has accepted more money from the mining industry than any other House or Senate candidate besides House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. In 2013 alone, she voted against safeguards for our air, land and water which earned her a score of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters scorecard.

Aside from Rep. Capito, we also have serious concerns about the positions Secretary Tennant has taken about reducing dangerous carbon pollution. We believe West Virginians deserve a Senator who will do all he/she can to protect their health.

Maybe the NRDC just gave the Tennant campaign an idea for their next TV ad, in which they brag about how some Washington environmental group is concerned about her positions …