Coming Clean on Coal Energy

Ben Smith of Politico blogged today about Joe Biden’s remarks in Ohio regarding coal plants in America. That is, that there shouldn’t be any. This seems to back up what he said last year during the primaries, according to Smith’s blog:

"I don’t think there’s much of a role for clean coal in energy independence, but I do think there’s a significant role for clean coal in the bigger picture of climate change," (Biden said) last year. "Clean-coal technology is not the route to go in the United States, because we have other, cleaner alternatives," he said, but added that America should push for a "fundamental change in technology" to clean up China’s plants.

Meanwhile, as if on cue, the McCain campaign countered today by issuing a press release insisting their candidate will protect coal-based jobs in the U.S. via a new coalition:

The coalition will help spread the message about the importance of clean coal technology and the advantages of tapping the country’s vast coal reserves. As part of John McCain’s "all of the above" energy plan, the Lexington Project, clean coal will be a strong component of the drive to energy independence. In addition to providing domestic energy, the coal industry is a key part of the economy in several states.

This is topical for me as I was in Crawfordsville just last week interviewing the manager of Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power — the city’s public utility company — for an upcoming member spotlight in BizVoice. He stressed to me the importance of clean coal as a future energy source in Indiana. He explained that our best minds need to be working on this in the future for the good of both the state and the nation. It’s also worth noting that the Indiana Chamber has a longstanding position that clean coal needs to be part of the energy mix in our state.

Obviously, this is just one of many issues voters will base their support on this election season and just a minor point/counterpoint in the grander scheme of the 2008 electoral dance. However, it seems the two tickets have drastically different opinions on these matters — or at least different rhetoric.