Richmond, VA In his latest attack ad, George Allen again chooses selectively edited clips over honesty about his record of opposition to the interests of coal miners and Tim Kaine’s long-held support for the coal industry.
"It was Tim Kaine, not George Allen, who fought to help ensure the permitting of a state of the art coal facility in Wise County that created 2,500 new jobs. It was Tim Kaine, not George Allen, who put in place Virginia's first statewide energy policy that emphasized use of Virginia's native resources, including coal,” said United Mine Workers representative Mike Kennedy who lives in St. Paul. “And, it was Tim Kaine, not George Allen, who just last month stood with the United Mine Workers in Castlewood to support us and our families. We know Tim Kaine will stand with us as a senator just like he did as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Virginia." Kaine and Allen could not have more divergent records when it comes to support for miners in Southwest Virginia. While Kaine has a record of protecting the health and safety of those workers, George Allen has shown time and again that he’s consistently willing to put profits of large corporations over the earned benefits of miners. In Congress, Allen voted against a bill to compel energy companies to make good on earned benefits and medical care for miners before he went to the private sector to act as an “energy industry consultant” for those same companies that risk benefits of their workers.
"As Governor, Tim Kaine made critical investments that helped improve Southwest Virginia's economy. Whether it was the thousands of jobs created at the new coal-fired facility in Wise, or the significant investments he made in the Coalfields Expressway and at UVA-Wise, Tim Kaine has always been a friend to Southwest Virginia workers and families,” said Senator Phillip Puckett of Tazewell. “While many come to Southwest during an election year, Tim Kaine has been a steadfast presence in our community. Whether celebrating our music festivals like the Fiddler's Convention in Galax or helping to expand CGI in Lebanon, Tim has always been someone we can count on. As a senator, I know he'll continue that same commitment to Southwest Virginia and work hard to create jobs and expand opportunity."
“Given his close ties to mining companies like Peabody Energy that are seeking to strip miners and their families of hard-earned pension benefits, it's no wonder George Allen is hastily trying to change the subject with a misleading, negative attack designed to blur the facts," said Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine. "But, George Allen’s distortions don’t explain the untold compensation he was paid by large corporations that risked the earned benefits of miners and their families in Southwest or his vote in Congress that let companies turn their backs on long-time employees."
Quick Facts You Should Know
United Mine Workers Of America Endorsed Tim Kaine. [The Republic, 10/5/12]
Dominion: Legislation Kaine Signed In 2007 Provided Incentives For Construction Of New Power Stations, Especially Those Using Clean Coal. [Dom.com, Accessed 9/8/12]
Kaine Created Virginia’s First Comprehensive Energy Plan. [Daily Press, 9/13/07]
Cecil Roberts Charged That Allen “Repeatedly Opposed Improvements In Health Benefits For Miners Stricken With Black Lung Disease.” [Virginian-Pilot, 11/2/00]
Allen Was One Of Only 60 Out Of 435 To Vote Against The Energy Policy Act Of 1992, Which Created Program To Help Retired Coal Miners From Bankrupt Companies. [HR 776, Vote 474, 10/5/92]
Full Fact Check
CLAIM: Kaine Wants To Shrink The Coal Portion Of The Energy Pie Chart.
FACT: Kaine’s record proves he supports coal. Kaine does not want to produce less energy from coal, but he does want to innovate to make coal cleaner and more competitive with natural gas. With respect to the energy pie chart, Kaine simply wants to produce more alternative energy, which would mean more total energy production to meet the needs of a growing population, with a larger portion of the energy pie chart coming from alternatives. Allen ridicules alternatives and voted against promoting them in the senate.
FACT: United Mine Workers Of America Have Endorsed Kaine.
United Mine Workers Of America Endorsed Tim Kaine. The Republic reported, “In Virginia, [United Mine Workers of America are] behind Senate candidate Tim Kaine.” [The Republic, 10/5/12]
United Mine Workers Of America: Tim Kaine Has Consistently Supported An Energy Policy That Includes Development Of Clean Coal Technology. In a press release endorsing Tim Kaine for Senate, the UMWA wrote, “Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. During his tenure as Governor, Kaine was an early and strong supporter of UMWA members, our jobs and our communities. Kaine has consistently supported an energy policy that significantly increases research and development of clean coal technology. He supported the building of a next-generation state-of-the-art coal-fired plant in Wise County.” [Press Release, United Mine Workers Journal, 09/2012]
FACT: Kaine Created Virginia’s First Comprehensive Energy Plan, Which Strongly Supported The Coal Industry, And The New Coal Plant In Wise County.
Kaine Created Virginia’s First Comprehensive Energy Plan. The Daily Press reported, “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has mapped out an energy strategy for Virginia. . . . Kaine's Virginia Energy Plan is the first such outline for the state.” [Daily Press, 9/13/07]
Bristol Herald Courier: Kaine’s Energy Plan “Recommends The State And Coal Companies Work Together To Keep The Industry Healthy.” The Bristol Herald Courier reported, “Virginia's energy plan unveiled this week in Richmond touts the clean-coal technology proposed for a new power plant in Wise County and credits the region's coal reserves as the primary reason the commonwealth enjoys low electricity rates. The plan gives the state a 10-year blueprint for Virginia's energy needs. . . . Southwest Virginia's substantial coal and natural gas reserves were cited a number of times in the report released at Virginia Commonwealth University. The report recommends the state and coal companies work together to keep the industry healthy since it supports the region's economy and provides the fuel for electricity generation and steel production at a relatively low cost.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 9/15/07]
Kaine’s Energy Plan Supported Construction Of Wise County Coal Plant. The Bristol Herald Courier reported, “Virginia's energy plan unveiled this week in Richmond touts the clean-coal technology proposed for a new power plant in Wise County and credits the region's coal reserves as the primary reason the commonwealth enjoys low electricity rates. . . . ‘We make many day-to-day decisions that affect whether we use energy wisely or whether we waste it,’ Gov. Tim Kaine said in a news release announcing the plan's completion. . . . Dominion Virginia Power's proposed Virginia City Hybrid Energy plant slated for Wise County is a prudent investment because it would use clean-coal technology to reduce greenhouse gases, according to the plan.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 9/15/07]
FACT: George Allen Voted Against A Bill To Compel Companies To Make Good On Negotiated Benefits And As An "Energy Industry Consultant" He Advised A Company That Risks SW Virginia Miner Pensions.
ALLEN WAS ONE OF ONLY 60 OUT OF 435 TO VOTE AGAINST THE COAL ACT OF 1992, WHICH FORCED THE CORPORATE PARENTS OF BANKRUPT UNIONIZED COAL MINES TO CHIP IN FOR RETIRED MINERS’ BENEFITS
In Congress, Allen Was One Of Only 60 Out Of 435 To Vote Against The Energy Policy Act Of 1992, Which Created Program To Help Retired Coal Miners From Bankrupt Companies. In 1992, Allen was one of only 60 out of 435 members of Congress to vote against the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which created a program to ensure the health benefits of retired coal miners who worked for companies that went out of business. The law passed the Senate by voice vote and President George H.W. Bush signed it into law. The coal provision is often referred to as the Coal Act of 1992. [HR 776, Vote 474, 10/5/92]
Energy Policy Act Of 1992’s Section On Benefits For Retired Coal Miners Has Become Known As The Coal Act Of 1992. CQ Weekly reported, “President Bush on Oct. 24 signed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the first major legislative attempt to curb U.S. oil dependence in more than a decade. The new law (PL 102-486) is a huge document, touching on virtually every sector of the energy industry. . . . [Key Provisions Include]: Retiree health benefits. Create a program to ensure the health benefits of about 120,000 retired union coal miners and their dependents who worked for companies that have gone out of business or are no longer paying into the miners' health fund. The law will bail out the anemic health fund by letting the union shift $210 million over three years from its overstocked pension fund. It will force many of the original companies, or a related business, to pay for its retirees. The legislation extends the Abandoned Mines Land fund, a reclamation fund gleaned from a fee on coal companies, until 2004 and taps interest on the fund to help pay for the health benefits. In exchange, the miners' union has agreed to certain health-care cost containment measures. The law also establishes a second, new fund to protect the health benefits of thousands of additional coal miners whose benefits might have been jeopardized in the future.” [Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 11/28/92]
The Energy Act Of 1992 Required The Corporate Parents Of Defunct Of Bankrupt Unionized Coal Mines, Going Back As Far As 1950, To Cover Part Of The Benefits Of The Miners Who Worked For Them. The Washington Post reported, “The Bush administration and key senators reached agreement yesterday on a complicated formula to ensure continued health care coverage for about 120,000 retired coal miners whose benefits fund is insolvent. The agreement cleared the way for final Senate passage of the ambitious energy bill. The bill passed the Senate by 90 votes last winter, only to be jeopardized by the last-minute addition of the coal mine issue. Under the terms of yesterday's accord, corporate parents of defunct or bankrupt unionized coal mines will be tracked back as far as 1950 and assessed to cover part of the cost of benefits for miners who worked for them, as will owners of mines that simply bailed out of the fund. As Sen. John D. ‘Jay’ Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) was jubilantly announcing the miners' benefits agreement at a Capitol news conference, the Senate began debating the last few amendments to the long-stalled energy bill… ‘I'm very proud of this,’ Rockefeller said. The retirees covered by the plan are dying at the rate of 6,500 a year, he said, but as long as they live they will be assured that ‘in this country, when you work hard, you play by the rules and promises are made to you, those promises will be kept.’” [Washington Post, 6/30/92]
- Boston Globe: “The Coal Act Was Passed In 1992, To Finance A Fund For The Long-Term Health Care Of Retired Mine Workers And Their Families.” The Boston Globe reported, “The Coal Act was passed in 1992, to finance a fund for the long-term health care of retired mine workers and their families… For coal miners, the guarantee of long-term health care has long been a priority, given the risks they face both in the mines and after they retire. The coal industry paid for these guarantees through a series of industrywide union contracts that created large health care funds. But companies that stopped actively mining coal could discontinue paying into the funds, leaving other companies to pay their retirees' health costs. And the funds, known as benefit trusts, were at risk as health costs rose and coal companies began leaving the industry or declaring bankruptcy… The benefit trusts reached a crisis in the late 1980s, leading to lawsuits among coal companies and a 10½-month strike against Pittston Coal Company in 1989. In response, Congress passed the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act, known as the Coal Act, which President George H.W. Bush signed in 1992.” [Boston Globe, 9/25/12]
- The 1992 Coal Act Created A Program That “Provided Prescription Drug Coverage To 55,000 Retired Coal Miners And Their Widows.”American Health Line reported, “HHS has agreed to increase Medicare reimbursements to the United Mine Workers Association Health and Retirement Funds program by $100 million in each of the next two years, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) said last week, the AP/Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports. The program, established under the 1992 Coal Act, provides prescription drug coverage to 55,000 retired coal miners and their widows. Rockefeller said, ‘This is an enormous victory for our coal miners in West Virginia and across the country.’ Byrd added, ‘Until a long-term solution is reached, this temporary fix will help to preserve vital health care benefits for thousands of West Virginians who need them most.’ UMWA President Cecil Roberts said that the announcement will affect 18,000 West Virginia coal miners and their families (AP/Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 9/15).” [American Health Line, 9/19/05]
2000: CECIL ROBERTS CRITICIZED ALLEN FOR VOTING AGAINST HEALTH BENEFITS FOR MINERS
2000: Cecil Roberts Charged That Allen “Repeatedly Opposed Improvements In Health Benefits For Miners Stricken With Black Lung Disease.” The Virginian-Pilot reported: “At an early dinner with about 150 Democrats in Richlands, a rugged town hard by the Kentucky border in Tazewell County, Robb got a boost from Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America. He charged that Allen, during a single term in Congress in the early 1990s, repeatedly opposed improvements in health benefits for miners stricken with black lung disease. ‘George Allen voted twice against coal miners,’ Roberts yelled into a microphone, and the crowd whooped in approval. ‘You need to vote twice against George Allen on Election Day.’” [Virginian-Pilot, 11/2/2000]
PEABODY HAS BEEN ONE OF ALLEN’S LARGEST CONSULTING CLIENTS AND CAMPAIGN DONORS
Peabody Was One Of Allen’s Biggest Consulting Clients In 2009-2011, According To His 2011 Financial Disclosure. The Washington Post reported, “But financial disclosure forms, campaign records and Allen’s staff show how close the former governor and senator has become to the energy industry since he lost his Senate seat in 2006. Allen earned nearly $350,000 from his consulting business that lists energy as one of its top priorities, and was paid at least $10,000 in consulting fees from a pair of the nation’s largest coal companies — Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy.” [Washington Post, 9/24/11]
Peabody Is Allen’s 11th Largest Donor. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of October 23rd, Peabody Energy was the 11th largest donor to Allen’s senate campaign. [OpenSecrets.org, Accessed 10/23/12]
PEABODY IS CURRENTLY FIGHTING TO AVOID COVERING THE BENEFITS OF THEIR RETIRED EMPLOYEES
Peabody Is Currently Involved In A Fight Over Whether It Is Required To Cover Retired Miners’ Medical Benefits. Bloomberg reported, “Retired coal miners may seek to bring claims against Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) and ArCH Coal Inc. (ACI) if bankrupt Patriot (PCXCQ) Coal Corp. won’t cover what it has called $1.3 billion in ‘unsustainable’ medical benefits. A group of 16 retirees, representing about 10,000 retirees whose benefits are being paid by Patriot, traveled from West Virginia to meet with company officials, Patriot’s creditors’ committee and the U.S. Trustee yesterday in New York. The former miners say they worked for predecessor companies Peabody or Arch, not Patriot.” [Bloomberg, 10/19/12]
PEABODY CREATED PATRIOT COAL TO SHED A LARGE SHARE OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY UNDER THE COAL ACT OF 1992 TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE TO ITS RETIRED MINERS
According To Most Observers, Peabody Created Patriot Coal To Shed A Large Share Of Their Coal Act Responsibilities. According to the SNL Coal Report, “Peabody Energy Corp. is moving forward with its planned spinoff of Patriot Coal Corp., with a series of related agreements filed Aug. 20 at the SEC under the Patriot name… Another important document attached to the filing covers 1992 Coal Act liabilities that Peabody will pass along to Patriot. Most observers think a primary reason for the creation of Patriot is the chance for Peabody to shed a large share of its massive Coal Act liabilities. Under the Coal Act, Congress in 1992 held traditional coal producers with United Mine Workers of America-represented workers responsible for the lifetime health care benefits of UMWA retirees. A number of Patriot's operations, particularly those in West Virginia, have union-represented workforces. Peabody has agreed to retain responsibility for paying ongoing expenses on about $636 million of Patriot's total of $1.2 billion in Coal Act liabilities.” [SNL Coal Report, 8/27/07]
FACT: Kaine Helped Make The New Coal Plant In Wise County A Reality.
KAINE SIGNED LEGISLATION THAT HELPED MAKE WISE COUNTY COAL PLANT A REALITY
Dominion: Legislation Kaine Signed In 2007 Provided Incentives For Construction Of New Power Stations, Especially Those Using Clean Coal. Dominion’s website states: “In April 2007, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved and Gov. Tim Kaine signed bills setting up the new regulatory system. . . . The plan helps ensure a reliable energy future for Virginia by providing incentives for construction of new power stations. The Commonwealth's utilities will have the opportunity for higher authorized rates of return for major generation projects, especially those using nuclear, clean coal and renewable energy technology. This will help attract the billions of dollars in capital needed for these projects from highly competitive financial markets.” [Dom.com, Accessed 9/8/12]
Dominion Announced Plan To Build The Wise County Coal Plant, Crediting 2007 Law’s Incentives. SNL Power Week Southeast reported, “Dominion Resources Inc. said July 16 that its Virginia utility has filed a request with state regulators to build its proposed 585-MW coal-fired power project in Wise County, Va. . . . Under reregulation laws passed by the state earlier this year, the utility would be eligible to earn a 100-basis-point bonus on its return on equity for a ‘coal-fueled combined-cycle’ power plant and a 200-basis-point bonus for a ‘carbon capture compatible, clean-coal powered’ plant. Genest said the company believes the proposed facility is eligible for the 200-basis-point bonus.” [SNL Power Week Southeast, 7/17/07]
Bristol Herald Courier: 2007 Law Authorized Dominion To Pursue The Plant. The Bristol Herald Courier reported, “State legislation authorizing Dominion to pursue the plant calls for the facility to burn Virginia coal. Dominion will use local waste coal and biomass such as wood waste in the fuel load as well. The waste coal -- known as gob piles -- is normally of poor quality and is generally not used as fuel. The technology in the new plant would make using gob piles feasible.” [Bristol Herald Courier, 7/26/07]
Washington Post: “[Kaine] Has Added Incentives For Utilities To Build ‘Clean’ Plants That Emit Less Carbon Than Conventional, Coal-Fired Plants.” The Washington Post reported, “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) announced significant amendments Tuesday to legislation that would dramatically change the way electric utilities are regulated in Virginia, proposing tougher environmental requirements and greater price protections for customers than the General Assembly approved last month. . . . Kaine's proposed changes to the electricity bill would direct the State Corporation Commission to keep utility prices in line with other southeastern states. He wants utilities to reduce the average customer's electricity use by 10 percent, instead of 5 percent, by 2022. And he has added incentives for utilities to build ‘clean’ plants that emit less carbon than conventional, coal-fired plants.” [The Washington Post, 3/28/07]
Dominion Executives Said 2007 Law Signed By Kaine Would Help Attract Favorable Financing To Build New Coal Plants. The Virginian-Pilot reported, “The legislation was overwhelmingly approved last month by the General Assembly. . . . Kaine stopped short of signing the complex bill, however. He instead offered a series of technical amendments to broaden consumer protections and the authority of regulators to control electric rates. . . . The bill allows Dominion to keep profits that are at least equal to the average earnings of other power providers in the Southeast. Dominion executives say the provision will help attract favorable financing to build nuclear and coal plants. Under Kaine's amendments, regulators at the State Corporation Commission could award up to an extra 1 percent of profit - or take away 1 percent - based on the utility's ability to meet efficiency goals. Kaine added a requirement that regulators, in determining rates, consider whether electric bills in Virginia are ‘competitive’ with other states. The governor also wants Dominion to refund surplus profits to consumers within a year, as opposed to a two-year grace period approved by the General Assembly.” [The Virginian-Pilot, 3/28/07]
- Dominion: 2007 Legislation Signed By Kaine Provided Incentives To Help VA Utilities Attract The Billions Of Dollars In Capital Needed For New Projects. Dominion Website: “Electricity Reregulation in Virginia - H.B. 3068 and S.B. 1416. This page features information about H.B. 3068 and S.B. 1416, commonly referred to as electricity "re-regulation" legislation, sponsored by Del. Clarke N. Hogan and Sen. Thomas K. Norment, respectively. . . . They were given final approval by the General Assembly on April 4, 2007, when the legislature approved amendments submitted by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. . . . Virginia faces a critical need for new baseload power stations to meet growing demand. The legislation promotes construction of such units and helps ensure electric reliability and rate stability for Virginia. . . . The old cost-of-service regulatory system did not provide the certainty that investors require to invest the billions of dollars in new capital for generation construction. The new legislation will provide the assurances needed for utilities to undertake these critical new projects. . . . HB 3068 and SB 1416 provide incentives to help Virginia utilities attract the billions of dollars in capital they will need for these projects.” [Dom.com, Accessed 9/9/12]
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine’s Amendments To 2007 Energy Legislation Provided Incentives To Construct New Cleaner Coal Plants. Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, “Virginia's governor has made several changes to a General Assembly-passed electric re-regulation bill, intended to help consumers and strengthen conservation and renewable energy provisions. . . . The governor's amendments would: *provide new incentives for constructing renewable sources of power generation such as solar, wind or hydro power plants and for clean-coal plants capable of capturing climate-changing carbon emissions, and reduce the extra profit utilities would be allowed for building conventional coal-burning plants.” [Richmond Times Dispatch, 3/28/07]
LEGISLATION KAINE SIGNED ALSO ENSURED THAT THE NEW PLANT WOULD RUN ON VIRGINIA COAL, CREATING HUNDREDS OF NEW MINING JOBS
Under State Law Encouraging Plant’s Construction, Virginia Coal Would Power Plant, Creating Hundreds Of Local Mining Jobs. U.S. Coal Review reported, “Dominion seeks approval for power station in SW Virginia. . . . Under a state law encouraging the construction of the station, it would be powered by Virginia coal. Once complete, the station would create about 350 mining jobs in the area.” [The U.S. Coal Review, 7/23/07]
THE WISE COUNTY PLANT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA IN HISTORY
Former Head Of Local Chamber Of Commerce: “When You're Talking About A Billion Dollars, We've Never Had Anything Even Close To That Developed In Southwest Virginia.” Greenwire reported, “The $1.8 billion Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center is expected to consume 2 million tons of Appalachian coal every year. . . . ‘When you're talking about a billion dollars, we've never had anything even close to that developed in southwest Virginia,’ said [John Clay] Stanley, a former director of the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce. ‘I don't think, for most people, they don't even realize how big this is going to be. The ripple is going to go everywhere.’” [Greenwire, 11/4/08]
Wise County Power Plant Created Approximately 2,500 New Jobs. Reuters reported, “Virginia power company Dominion Resources Inc's 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center coal and biomass-fired power plant in southwestern Virginia entered commercial service earlier this week. . . . Dominion said the project had employed nearly 2,400 construction workers at its peak and that it would employ 84 to operate the plant. The company said the energy center would pay more than $6 million per year in local taxes to St. Paul and Wise County over the next decade and, according to a study, would generate more than $250 million a year in economic activity for southwestern Virginia now that it is on line.” [Reuters, 7/12/12]
FACT: Kaine Has Been A Strong Advocate For Coal’s Future, Advocating Innovation To Make Coal More Competitive.
Kaine Was Criticized By Some For Supporting Wise County Coal Plant. But Kaine Explained, “Coal Is Going To Be Part Of The Equation.” According to Virginian-Pilot, “Kaine has been criticized by environmental groups for backing a large, new coal-fired power plant in Southwest Virginia - a project sponsored by Dominion Virginia Power and expected to emit tons of carbon emissions. […] ‘Coal is going to be part of the equation,’ Kaine told reporters. His approach, he said, is to invest in clean-coal technology and shut down older, dirtier coal-fired plants.” [Virginian-Pilot, 12/5/08]
Kaine Said That Virginia Relies On Coal For Too Much Of Its Energy To Imagine A Future Without It. According to the Washington Post, “At a town hall meeting in Loudoun County last night, Kaine (D) defended his support for the plant. He said he has faith in Virginia's approval process, which he said relies on science and a thorough assessment of the state's needs rather than politics. ‘We've got a need for energy, and we've got to do it in a way that's as clean and as focused on conservation as possible,’ he said. However, he added, that must be balanced against ‘the need for reliable and relatively low-cost energy.’ Virginia relies on coal for too much of its energy to imagine a future without it, Kaine said. Moreover, by approving newer plants that employ the cleanest technology, the state can retire older, more polluting plants, he said.” [Washington Post, 4/1/08]
Kaine: “We Are Not Going To Eliminate Coal” As A Source “That Will Power Our Country.” According to the Washington Post, Kaine said, “We are not going to eliminate coal, a native source that we have, as one of the sources that will power our country.” [Washington Post, 3/30/08]
Kaine: “I Don’t Believe This Nation Has A No-Coal Future.” According to the Roanoke Times, Kaine said, “I don't believe this nation has a no-coal future.” [Roanoke Times, 3/17/08]
FACT: Coal Mining Employment Is Higher Now That It Was At Any Time Between 1999 And 2008
West Virginia Center On Budget & Policy: “Coal Mining Employment Today Is Higher Than At Any Time Between 1999 And 2008.” According to the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, “. . . U.S. coal mining employment is much higher today than it was over the last decade. In fact, coal mining employment today is higher than at any time between 1999 and 2008.” [West Virginia Center On Budget & Policy, 6/19/12]
FACT: The Main Threat To Coal’s Future Is Increasingly Cheaper Natural Gas, Which Is Why Kaine Strongly Supports Innovation In The Coal Industry.
West Virginia Center On Budget & Policy: “The Decline In Coal Employment Over This Period Is Presumably Tied To The Growing Natural Gas Sector That Is Displacing Coal Jobs.” According to the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, “Looking a little closer at the different mining sectors, oil and gas extraction has performed the best since the beginning of the recession - increasing its jobs base by over one quarter. Coal mining employment has declined by 1.5 percent over the last six months, however it’s almost 11 percent higher than it was prior to December 2007. Ironically, the decline in coal employment over this period is presumably tied to the growing natural gas sector that is displacing coal jobs.” [West Virginia Center On Budget & Policy, 6/19/12]
FACT: Allen Ridicules Alternative Energy And Voted Against Promoting It Last Time He Was In The Senate.
2011: Allen Op-Ed Ridiculed Democrats For Pushing R&D For Clean Energy, Said Wind And Solar Energy Is “Costly And Years Away – If Ever – From Widespread Use.” In a April 2011 op-ed in the Washington Examiner, George Allen criticized President Obama “and his liberal allies in Washington” for pushing clean-energy technology and launching a “full-scale assault on conventional fuels.” Allen wrote: “In answering a college student’s question about high gas prices last week at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama told Americans he believes the only real way to reduce our energy costs is to spend money on research and development of clean-energy technology… Sadly, the president and his liberal allies in Washington seem more concerned about tilting at intermittent, expensive windmills and throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks to using our American resources than the crippling impact of high energy costs… [W]ind and solar power technologies remain costly and years away – if ever – from widespread use, despite the tens of billions the U.S. Department of Energy has spent on renewable energy technologies since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was in the White House.” [Allen op-ed, Washington Examiner, 4/26/11]
Allen Promoted Coal, Oil, And Natural Gas Over Alternatives Because “The Sun Doesn’t Shine All The Time; The Wind Doesn’t Blow All The Time.” In June 2009, the Virginian-Pilot reported, “Former Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Allen launched the American Energy Freedom Center last week to promote coal, oil and natural gas as the best solutions to the world’s energy problems. He said solar and wind energy are less dependable because ‘The sun doesn’t shine all the time; the wind doesn’t blow all the time.’” [Virginian-Pilot, 6/13/09]
- Allen’s Views On Wind Differ From McDonnell’s. In April 2011, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Virginia Politics blog noted that Allen’s views on wind differed from Gov. Bob McDonnell’s. The blog wrote that Allen’s Examiner op-ed on energy was “sharply critical of Obama’s push to spend for the research and development of clean-energy technology,” and was published on the same day that Gov. McDonnell touted the benefits of wind energy. A spokesperson for McDonnell said that offshore wind farms are a significant part of McDonnell’s energy goals. [Virginia Politics blog, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/27/11]
Virginian-Pilot: Allen Voted Against Alternative Energy In His Previous Senate Term. The Virginian-Pilot reported, “Allen considers wind and solar more costly and less reliable than traditional energy sources - he voted against efforts to promote them in his previous Senate term, favoring coal, oil and natural gas instead.” [Virginian-Pilot, 10/30/12]
Washington Post: Allen Voted Against Fostering Alternative Sources Of Energy. The Washington Post reported, “As senator, [Allen] voted for tax breaks to oil and coal companies and against fostering alternative sources, including solar and wind, because he said they were not dependable.” [Washington Post, 9/25/11]
Roanoke Times Editorial: “Allen Dismisses Wind And Solar.” A May 2011 Roanoke Times editorial criticized George Allen’s energy proposals. The Times opined: “Allen dismisses wind and solar as ‘costly and years away.’ The same could be said of drilling for gas and oil off Virginia’s shore -- but without the environmental risk. So what’s Allen’s solution? Three things: drill, baby, drill from sea to shining sea; revel in being the ‘Saudi Arabia of coal’; tap for more natural gas, coal-bed methane and shale gas.” [Editorial, Roanoke Times, 5/8/11]
FACT: Contrary To What Allen Says, Clean Energy Is Already Employing Tens Of Thousands Of Virginians.
AROUND 700 WORKERS ARE EMPLOYED AT GENERAL ELECTRIC PLANT IN SALEM THAT MAKES WIND TURBINES
G.E. Employs About 700 Workers At Salem Plant, Which Manufactures Control Systems For GE Energy Products, Including Wind Turbines. The Roanoke Times reported, General Electric's Salem plant announced Friday that an increased demand for wind turbine controls is driving the facility to add about 60 positions to its work force. ‘Strong manufacturing demand and replacements for retiring employees are generating the need for additional employees,’ a news release from the company said. . . . The plant currently employs about 700 workers, Scholzen said. It manufactures control systems for GE Energy products including gas, steam and wind turbines, power plant and wind farm management and solar arrays. The 60 positions at the plant are part of 200 jobs that GE has previously said it plans to add in Salem and at other GE locations in Virginia.” [Roanoke Times, 1/21/12]
Bloomberg: 35 Percent Of All New Generating Capacity Since 2007 Has Been From Wind Energy. Bloomberg reported, “The portion of wind since 2007 added 35 percent of all new generating capacity, ‘twice what coal and nuclear added combined,’ said AWEA [American Wind Energy Association] Chief Executive Officer Denise Bode. ‘The American wind industry is delivering, while competing with energy sectors that have permanent government subsidies.’” [Bloomberg, 4/7/11]
66,000 VIRGINIANS WORK IN THE CLEAN ENERGY SECTOR
In 2010, More Than 66,000 Virginians Worked In The “Clean Economy” Sector. According to the Brookings Institution, 66,772 Virginians were employed in “Clean Economy” jobs in 2010. [Brookings Institution, “Sizing The Clean Economy,” 2011]
CLAIM: Kaine Supports A Cap And Trade System.
FACT: Did Republican Senator John Warner Forget About “Us” In Virginia When He Championed Cap And Trade In The Senate?
CAP AND TRADE WAS CHAMPIONED BY JOHN WARNER WHO WORRIED ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Senator John Warner Was Influenced By A Military Study That Described Climate Change As A Serious Threat To The U.S. Military. The Virginian-Pilot reported, “[I]n the spring of 2007, Warner began to hear warnings about global warning from retired generals and admirals. A group including former Army Chief of Staff Gordon Sullivan and Adm. Joe Prueher, a Virginia Beach resident who once commanded American forces in the Pacific, issued a study that cast climate change as a serious threat for the U.S. military. The report warned of future wars over energy and water in areas where global warming has triggered droughts. It predicted that millions of people in coastal communities could be left homeless as melting polar ice raises sea levels. The military, particularly the Navy, would be hit hard by such disasters, with piers submerged and training areas reduced to marshland. Sherri Goodman, a Pentagon official in the Clinton administration, directed the study and was among those briefing Warner on it. ‘I think he was moved,’ she said. Warner came to see that ‘this is an issue too important just to be left to environmentalists.’” [The Virginian-Pilot, 6/2/08]
John Warner: “We Also Know That The Cost Of Inaction Is Much More Likely To Hurt American Families And The American Way Of Life More Than The Potential Costs Of Action.” In a floor statement discussing the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill on Climate Change, Senator John Warner said, “We also know that the cost of inaction is much more likely to hurt American families and the American way of life more than the potential costs of action. Not addressing climate change is not going to keep energy bills low. Increased demand for energy will drive prices up, without the incentives for expanding the use of alternative energy sources or providing a safety net for consumers, as my bill would do. I relish this opportunity to debate climate change legislation in the Senate. It is my hope that we will have robust debate. I want my colleagues, both those who agree with my bill and those who don't, to have ample opportunity to offer amendments. If we are going to be serious, serious consideration must be given to all members who want to have their say in this landmark debate.” [Congressional Record, 6/2/08]
Allen Called John Warner “An Esteemed Statesman” And “A Man From Whom We Always Learn Something New.” In a floor statement praising Sen. Warner for his service in the Senate, Senator Allen said, “[John Warner] is a man from whom we always learn something new, valuable, insightful, or humorous. He is a unique blend of a military leader, having served in World War II and in Korea… He is a country gentleman, a legal scholar, a historian, a great storyteller, and an esteemed statesman.” [Congressional Record, 4/28/05]
FACT: The Military Considers Climate Change A Serious National Security Issue
Pentagon Quadrennial Defense Report: Climate Change “May Act As An Accelerant Of Instability Or Conflict.” The Pentagon wrote, “Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment…Climate change will affect DoD in two broad ways. First, climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake…climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration…climate change…may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas.” [Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 2/12/10]
Admiral John Nathman: “There Are Serious Risks To Doing Nothing About Climate Change." According to the Media Matters blog, Adm. John Nathman (USN, Ret.) -- former Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command under President George W. Bush -- said, “There are serious risks to doing nothing about climate change. We can pay now or we're going to pay a whole lot later. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to become energy independent, protect our national security and boost our economy while reducing our carbon footprint. We've been a model of success for the rest of the world in the past and now we must lead the way on climate change." [Media Matters Blog, 5/30/12]
Admiral Joseph Lopez, USN (Ret.): "Climate Change Will Provide The Conditions That Will Extend The War On Terror." [Media Matters Blog, 5/30/12]
Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.): “Climate Change Poses A Clear And Present Danger To The United States Of America.” According to the Media Matters blog, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn said, "The national security community is rightly worried about climate change because of the magnitude of its expected impacts around the globe, even in our own country ... Climate change poses a clear and present danger to the United States of America. But if we respond appropriately, I believe we will enhance our security, not simply by averting the worst climate change impacts, but by spurring a new energy revolution." [Media Matters Blog, 5/30/12]
Brig. General Steven Anderson: Climate Change Increases “Likelihood There Will Be Conflicts In Which American Soldiers Are Going To Have To Fight And Die Somewhere.” According to the Media Matters blog, retired Brig. General Steven Anderson -- Former Chief of Logistics Under General Petraeus -- said, “Our oil addiction, I believe, is our greatest threat to our national security. Not just foreign oil but oil in general. Because I believe that in CO2 emissions and climate change and the instability that that all drives, I think that that increases the likelihood there will be conflicts in which American soldiers are going to have to fight and die somewhere.” [Media Matters Blog, 5/30/12]
General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Former Commander-In-Chief Of U.S. CENTCOM: “It's Not Hard To Make The Connection Between Climate Change And Instability, Or Climate Change And Terrorism.” [Media Matters Blog, 5/30/12]
FACT: George Allen’s Approach to Climate Change Is To . . . Deny It.
Allen: “It Is The Hubris Of Man To Think That We Can Control Mother Nature And Affect The Temperature.” During an interview in August 2010, Allen was asked about the existence of climate change. He said, “My science courses at UVA were in climatology and environmental sciences. The truth is that our planet has been warmer and colder in the past and will be warmer and cooler in the future. We are part of a solar system and such variations occur naturally. It is the hubris of man to think that we can control Mother Nature and affect the temperature. As to whether the earth is currently warmer, cooler or stable, we have to look at long-term statistics. The real question is how much of any change is man-made. To me, this is a debatable issue.” [Bearing Drift Interview, 8/5/10]
Allen: Carbon Dioxide Does Not Endanger Us; United Nations Using Climate Change to Try to Undermine American Sovereignty. In a speech at an American’s for Prosperity event, Allen said, “Now folks, you not only have the cap and tax scheme, you have EPA, unelected bureaucrats, trying to say that carbon dioxide endangers us. Facts: 96% of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere naturally occurs. It mostly comes from the ocean. Only 4% comes from human activity. Indeed, carbon dioxide forms the basis of all animal, plant and human life here on earth. It helps plants grow! And here again the sanctimonious social engineers say that 50 years from now if we put all these draconian costs on electricity and food and clothes and fuel, that the temperature of the earth, 50 years from now will be a fraction of one degree less than it is now. My goodness, they can’t forecast the weather accurately 10 days from now. . . . What they’re trying to do, these folks in the United Nations, is to lasso or rope the U.S. into this climate control scheme and have a transfer of wealth out of the United States to other countries. Now the other countries, fat chance anybody’s going to enforce any of this nonsense. . . . So what’s at stake is not just our economy, our jobs, our competitiveness, our balance of trade and indeed our national security. Fundamentally what’s at stake is our sovereignty, our freedom as American citizens, and it’s absolutely essential that we save and protect our sovereignty as Americans.” [Allen Speech, Americans for Prosperity Event in Richmond, VA, 1/16/10]