Coal Industry Sponsoring Tonight’s CNN Democratic Presidential Debate

Tonight at 8 pm EST, CNN will air a Democratic presidential debate, live from Las Vegas, Nevada. A full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times states that the debate is being sponsored by the “clean coal” industry:


See the full page ad here.

Here’s a closer look at the coal industry’s “clean” agenda:

• Expand coal production via the promotion of government funded “coal to liquid” technology to convert coal to vehicle fuels, which would produce twice as much global warming pollution as ordinary gasoline production, while consuming huge amounts of water too.

Build as many new power plants as possible before limits on greenhouse gas pollution take effect to evade such safeguards. There are nearly 150 coal fired power plants on the drawing board.

Delay and weaken any limits on carbon dioxide pollution for as long as possible, even though scientists tell us we need a 20% reduction by 2020, and an 80% reduction in 2050.

• Under any “cap and trade” global warming plan, convince Congress to give them free “allowances” to emit greenhouse gases rather than force coal fired power plants to buy them in an auction.

The coal industry has been engaged in an intense lobbying campaign to persuade coal-state lawmakers to adopt their backwards ideas. Fortunately, it’s not working. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), a key coal-state senator, killed a coal-to-liquid amendment in May.

The coal industry’s sponsorship of tonight’s CNN debate in Las Vegas appears to be an attempt to pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has stood firmly against the construction of three proposed major coal-fired power plants in his home state:

REID: “I want to help Nevada become the national leader in renewable energy and energy independence. We have vast wind, solar and geothermal resources and we’re wasting energy every day we’re not tapping into those free, clean, and reliable power sources. … As proposed, these coal plants are old news, the way of the increasingly distant past.”

Because their pressure tactics are failing, the coal industry appears to think they can buy off a victory by sponsoring a presidential debate.

Contact debate moderator Wolf Blitzer here, and urge him to ask the Democratic candidates whether they endorse clean coal as the solution to our dependence on foreign oil.

UPDATE: The coal industry also has ads on CNN’s debate website:


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