FLASHBACK: In 2003, Romney attacked coal jobs that “kill people”

MittRomneyRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, like his fellow GOP contenders, supports unlimited coal and oil production and opposes cap-and-trade markets to limit greenhouse pollution. Romney calls cap and trade a “radical feel-good” policy that would have “devastating results for people across the planet.” Last month, he told Fox News that the nation needed to “start drilling for oil” and to “use our coal resources” because “you have to have oil and gas to power America’s economy.”

But according to his standards, Romney himself used to be a “radical” environmentalist who supported clean energy policy and opposed a pollution-backed economy. Back in 2005, Romney told the Boston Globe he was “convinced” that cap and trade was “good business.” It was his administration, in fact, that helped guide the development of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap and trade system in the Northeastern U.S. that has raised $860 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

In 2003, Romney fought to protect public health by supporting environmental controls on a Massachusetts coal plant that was responsible for dozens of premature deaths and 14,400 asthma attacks each year, according the Harvard School of Public Health. Announcing new regulations on the coal pollution, Romney said that he would “not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people”:

I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant kills people and PG&E has been given a notice to have it cleaned up by 2004 and they have thumbed their nose at the people of Massachusetts and Salem Harbor by not cleaning it up on time. So we’re saying, clean it up on time, do the job in the community, invest in cleaning technology.

Watch it (via a minidoc by Vision for Salem):


One has to wonder where the old Romney went. According to Seth Kaplan of the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation, the old Romney disappeared while he was still governor of Massachusetts, posturing for the presidential election in 2007.

“You could see the flip starting to happen then – whether it was directly related to his running for president, you can’t say for sure. But they happened at the exact same time,” Kaplan tells ThinkProgress.

— Stephen Lacey

NOTE:  This is the first (of many) direct cross-posts between Think Progress and Climate Progress, since CP will be merging with TP in 10 days.  More on that next week.

Related Post:

9 Responses to FLASHBACK: In 2003, Romney attacked coal jobs that “kill people”

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Mitt Romney is worth half a billion dollars, but he knows who the man is, and it’s not him. Like every other Republican politician, he is not a “leader” at all. We don’t have those any more, that’s a 20th century notion. Exxon, Peabody, and Koch tell Romney what to say, and they know how he can be had: above all, Mitt wants to be President, and will do whatever it takes to try to get there.

  2. Zetetic says:

    “One has to wonder where the old Romney went.”

    Simple….The old Romney decided to trade his brain and spine for large amounts of corporate cash. What’s left is a mindless automaton that does what the fossil fuel industry and bankers tell him to.

  3. Tim says:

    It was his administration, in fact, that helped guide the development of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap and trade system in the Northeastern U.S. that has raised $860 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

    A piece of advice: if you want to push cap-and-trade, show evidence that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative of which you speak here is responsible for lowering greenhouse gas emission and by how much. If all you say is that it has “raised $860 million”, you are strengthening the hand of your opponents who already accuse you of being more intereseted in raising taxes than in addressing a serious (the most serious) environmental problem.

    Tell people that the old Mitt Romney was someone you might have wanted to vote for because he was interested in their children and grandchildren, not that he raised taxes.

  4. Tim says:

    …and yes, I know, what I advise you to do is implicit in “or energy efficiency and renewable energy programs” – what I’m saying is to be explicit.

  5. Ethan Von Braun says:

    The fact that Romney is a practicing Mormon tells you everything you need to know. He believes in the angel Moroni. I guess that’s where we get the term moron from.

  6. sydb says:

    Whatever it takes. Mitt’s just flexible with the truth.

  7. espiritwater says:

    What an ignorant remark! (above, #5). All Christians believe in things which sound odd to other non-believers.

  8. Cugel says:

    Romney has enough money to fund his own campaigns, but what he can’t buy is the Murdoch press and the Koch-directed Tea Party machine. The threat comes in the GOP primaries, of course, not in elections themselves.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The case of Romney, himself rich enough to ignore the irrational imbecility of denialism, and surely not beholden to the Kochtopus and the other hydrocarbon interests, is intriguing. It makes you wonder if there is a transmissable psychological disease, caused by some possibly virus-like entity, that enters the minds of those susceptible and exposed in the right environment, and makes them go bonkers. Most of what he formerly said was rational, accords with science and even good old commonsense, but he now repudiates it with ease. He’ll deny it three times before cock’s crow if he must. I know that winning the votes of the Dunning-Krugerites is considered necessary, but surely there are lots of votes on the Right and with independents amongst the non intellectually challenged.
    Which, of course, leads one down really dark avenues of speculation. The uniformity of the Right, in the US and Canada openly, and more furtively but just as certainly in Australia and, I believe, the UK (despite expert PR posturing otherwise)in absolutely denying climate destabilisation, the continued fervour of the MSM to deny or preach false equivalence between scientific truth and denialist mendacity and the total polarisation in this crisis between Left and Right, all confirm my darkest foreboding. For a good while I’ve believed, on and off and with rising and falling conviction, that the Right actually desires an ecological crash to happen. Their denialism is not confused-it is deliberate and functional. Soon enough, within months if northern crops fail catastrophically, there is going to commence a period of hunger, malnutrition, social chaos and war without parallel in history. Already the Middle East is riven by conflict, some indigenous, some fomented from outside by the West in the familiar ‘regime change’ pattern, but all bound to worsen if wheat prices shoot higher. Yet the US authorities continue to flood the world with liquidity, which is not, of course, being productively invested at home, that being not sufficiently lucrative, but is roaming the world and being used to blow up new speculative asset bubbles, including in agricultural commodities, hastening and worsening hunger in the poor world. You’d almost think that it was all planned that way, so little do the authorities seem to have learned from the GFC. I cannot escape the dread that global war, famine, starvation and mass death are being deliberately provoked, and have been carefully planned for decades.