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Jewish World Review
Nov. 4, 2008
/ 6 Mar-Cheshvan 5769
Bankrupt with the Facts
Debra J. Saunders
The blog headline read: "Obama Tells SF Chronicle He Will Bankrupt Coal
Industry" and the author charged that the audio of the meeting with
Obama "(had) been hidden from the public."
One problem: The charge is utter crap. Far from hiding the meeting, the
Chronicle posted audio and video of Barack Obama's meeting with the
editorial board on Jan. 17, 2008.
And Obama did not say that he will bankrupt the coal industry. To the
contrary, he said, "this notion of no coal, I think, is an illusion." He
then explained that he believed in setting emission limits, and letting
industry including coal figure out how to operate within those
limits. And: "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they
can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be
charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
I was in the room and my ears did not perk up as if Obama had issued a
headline-commanding quote, when he said the above.
Why didn't the paper report on Obama's remarks? Because San Francisco is
not Pennsylvania or Ohio. According to the Energy Information
Administration, "Due to strict emission laws, only a few small
coal-fired power plants operate in California." And a new California law
prohibits utilities from entering into long-term contracts with
conventional coal-fired power producers.
The Chronicle and other papers have reported that Obama's energy plan
calls for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 80 percent below
1990 levels by the year 2050. That means: no new coal plants in the
United States, unless some amazing new technology magically appears. Or
unless there is an energy fairy.
Let me add, Obama had made similar statements in other venues. In a
January debate, "We're going to cap greenhouse gases. We're going to say
to every polluter that's sending greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,
'We're going to charge you a dollar we're going to charge you money
for every unit of greenhouse gas that you send out there.' That will
create a market. It will generate billions of dollars that we can invest
in clean technology." I assure you, coal execs weren't dancing with
Sure, after a blogger uses an erroneous headline and falsely claims that
the Chronicle kept the interview "hidden," the quote may seem as if it
made news. But know this: It was the job of the opposition teams of both
Hillary Clinton and John McCain to scrutinize every interview given by
Obama word by word. Neither campaign made an issue of this interview
when their candidates stumped in Ohio and Pennsylvania and it was
their job to have listened.
P.S. If you are so inclined, you can listen at www.sfgate.com/ZCGA.
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