Media Advisory–Expert Availability: Obama Pledges to Bankrupt Coal Industry, Kill 80,000 Jobs

Published November 3, 2008

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, has pledged to bankrupt all new coal-fired electric power plants as a means of addressing global warming. Obama’s startling pledge, made in a January interview but kept hidden from voters until leaked on Sunday, threatens an industry that employs 80,000 American workers at a time when the U.S. faces its deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

While Obama specifically promised to bankrupt new plants, the cap-and-trade penalties he favors would apply to all coal power plants and thus threaten all of them equally.

This would increase electricity prices across the nation.

“The U.S. coal industry supplies American citizens with cheap, abundant domestic energy at a time when electric bills are skyrocketing and our staggering economy needs every bit of assistance it can get,” observed James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute. “The economy is rightly the biggest issue in Tuesday’s election, and a deliberate plan to bankrupt the U.S. coal industry to fight remote and speculative global warming fears is guaranteed to push the economy into the abyss.

“With global temperatures no higher today than they were 20 years ago, it is unwise for any candidate to seek to destroy 80,000 jobs and force energy prices significantly higher in a rush to impose rash, drastic laws to address so speculative an alleged problem,” Taylor added.

Taylor can be reached at 941-776-5690 or [email protected]