Obama: We'll bankrupt coal-powered electric plants

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"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." -- Barack Obama to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, January 2008, at about 40 minutes, 30 seconds into the video.

From a January 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board:

Let me sort of describe my overall policy.

What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

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.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It's just that it will bankrupt them.

It will also bankrupt the coal mining and processing companies in America and the people who work for them. It will make the United States more dependent on foreign sources of energy, and it will make all energy more expensive. That's already on its way for Oklahoma consumers, since Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners Jim Roth and Jeff Cloud voted to kill the Red Rock coal-fired electricity plant that had been proposed by PSO and OG+E.

One of Roth's supporters, commenting on my UTW column about the Corporation Commission race, wrote that Roth was going to focus on getting Oklahomans to reduce their own usage, rather than making electricity more available and less expensive.

Jim Roth, in his official statement for voting against the Red Rock coal-fired power plant, stated that he deemed it important to first address energy demand before continuing to increase energy supply, especially when in costs billions of rate-payers money. He soon initiated a demand-side management program to help us all lower our energy use.

Oklahoma currently ranks 47th in promoting energy conservation and efficiency. This proves we have much room to progress and improve in our energy use practices and behaviors. The OCC is currently completing their demand-side management (DSM) collaboration. It's main goal is to offset our excessive energy demand by improving efficiency in our homes and businesses, somewhat negating the NEED for another plant, a plant that would be fueled with dirty coal from Wyoming.

Along with cleaner air and water and lower monthly utility bills, these demand-side management programs are a great source of local green-job creation.

In fact, Roth and Cloud's vote against the Red Rock plant will cost ratepayers billions of dollars in the aggregate.

Worse yet, Oklahoma loses a selling point for attracting industry to the state: Plentiful and relatively inexpensive electricity.

"Local green-job creation," which would involve selling energy-saving devices to Oklahomans, and thus sending money from Oklahomans to the out-of-state or out-of-country manufacturers of those devices, can't hold a candle to manufacturing plants or massive server farms providing goods and services to the rest of the world and bringing money to Oklahoma as payroll.

Whatever Obama gives you with his ever-dwindling middle-class tax cut, he will take away through higher energy costs. Whatever Jim Roth is saving you by counting paperclips, he's costing you far more in higher energy costs and lost job opportunities.

Audio of Obama from his January interview, after the jump.

Here is the full video of Obama's interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. The discussion about energy and the environment comes at about 25 minutes in and again beginning about 38 minutes in.


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3 Comments

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

"Let me sort of describe my overall policy."

Sort of seems to be the only way he describes anything. An aggressive cap and trade policy is something I haven't heard him talk about. Is this important to him or not?

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

This idea is in direct conflict with our efforts to get away from foreign sourced energy. Plus, is he going to also hold China, North Korea and other countries feet to the fire who are polluting the air. If we are the only nation pursuing clean air, we will be at a competitive disadvantage in world markets because our energy costs are very high, resulting in job losses throughout the exonomy.

tonysprout said:

I just love analogies. Here's one. Tricky Ricky's energy policy is akin to a doctor who opens up a patient, then waits for the surgical procedure to be developed.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 2, 2008 12:07 PM.

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