Since health care reform is on the Senate agenda right now, I’m reposting this Think Progress piece. Looks like the WV Chamber is a chip-off-the-block of the incredible shrinking U.S. Chamber. Coal use, of course, is one reason why everyone needs access to health care (see “NRC: Burning fossil fuels costs the U.S. $120 billion a year “” not counting mercury or climate impacts!“). See also “If you want smarter kids, shut coal plants.”
Corporate front groups and large business trade associations are funneling their resources into defeating health reform. Even though health reform will lower costs for small businesses and boost worker productivity economy-wide, it appears that corporate entities influenced by major polluters are hoping that the defeat of health care legislation will slow President Obama’s agenda and derail their true enemy: clean energy reform.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which is largely backed by the coal industry, candidly revealed this strategy in a letter released today to Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Robert Byrd (D-WV). The Chamber of Commerce demanded that the senators use “their clout and seniority” to obstruct the health reform debate until cap and trade legislation is taken off the table and the EPA is barred from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. As Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette noted, Rockefeller has already rejected a similar proposal of blocking health reform unless the EPA stops reviewing mountaintop removal permits. The coal lobby has also pressured West Virginia state legislators to pass resolutions opposing clean energy reform.