VA GOP Caucus floats "Clean Coal" Lie

Brian Moran draws fire for principled stand against Surry plant

No matter which Democrat you support for Governor, I think we can all agree that growing business responsibly and protecting natural resources are a big part of the job. But in typical fashion, the Virginia GOP Caucus would have us all believe that up is down, black is white, the Iraqi War made us all safer, "coal is a natural resource that has not been linked to any environmental harm", and that opposition to the Mega-Surry coal fired plant is "trying to skirt alternative energy".

Alternative energy?!? Did I miss a meeting?!? When did coal become a "a clean burning alternative fuel source." ?!?


Brian Moran, like a 72% majority of Virginians polled, believes that immediate action is needed to address the issue of global warming. Apparently, the GOP would like to ignore scientific data showing that coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil. Coal contains about 80 percent more carbon per unit of energy than gas does. A metric ton of carbon equals about 10,000 miles of driving at 25 miles per gallon of gasoline or about one year of home heating using a natural gas-fired furnace or about four months of electricity from coal-fired generation.

From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network,

"At a time when a majority of Virginians believe that action is required on climate change we have Old Dominion Electric Cooperative ignoring both public opinion and climate science to propose a massive new coal plant," said Kathy Selvage with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. "It's not just about climate change; as a resident of Wise County I see the devastation of mountaintop removal coal mining every day. We've lost 29 mountains already," noted Selvage.

The GOP also scoffs at the notion that there's any link between the proposed coal plant and the Chesapeake Bay. Surely no harm could come from dropping a power plant so close to the Chesapeake Bay watershed? (Hint:Local pollution of methane, sulfur and NOX can be expected to increase, per CCAN) And I'm sure the mercury pumping from coal stacks won't jeopardize our billion dollar commercial fishing industry in Virginia, although acidification and mercury levels have all ready killed or made inedible the fish of over 50,000 waterways in the United States.

On what basis does the VA GOP Caucus suggest that Brian Moran should have kept his mouth shut and gone along with the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative?
"this might cause Moran to lose a few votes in Southwest Virginia" King Coal (R-Virginia)
On the contrary, Brian is joined in opposition to this short sighted and destructive project by Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Sierra Club.

Of course, people in Surry want responsible business development and good jobs. Contrary to what the GOP thinks, they're just not willing to trade their home, health, and future to get them. By attacking Brian Moran on this issue, the GOP has once again proven who the REAL extremists are.

That is mind boggling

It is both incredibly dense on their part and politically self destructive to take that position. But I have to admit, I'm having a special warm feeling inside, which could turn to euphoria if they maintain that position. Did you read the first comment? Wow! With Brian at the top of the ticket, the distinctions couldn't be more clear.

There's an old saying I really like that I think applies to global warming: "When you engage the laws of nature in a pissing match, you eventually face the wind"

I'm feeling pretty good about the way we are standing on this one.


Coal has been around for a long time, and we've been using it from our earliest industrial years. What makes it alternative? I don't get it. This is the response to the argument that clean coal doesn't exist? To say it does, and that it's an alternative source? I thought alternative meant "new" and also was largely synonymous with renewable? Last I checked, coal didn't make the cut on the list of renewable power sources.

Sure...clean coal burning may be better for the environment, but it's still not clean. There's the little problem of altering the landcape for this resource as well.

The problem with clean coal technology.. that even if the technology is developed, it will not be used unless it is less expensive than dirty coal, which no one is projecting. We've had cleaner ways of mining coal for over a century but no one uses those methods because dirty mining is cheaper. The same will be true if clean burning is developed. "Clean Coal" is a yellow brick road that leads to nowhere but makes people believe something is being done. It is a scam.

My family settled ~260 acres of prime farm land (with natural springs) near Sandy Hook, Kentucky in the late 1700's. In the 1950's-60's the entire area was bullied and swindled out of key parts of land and was then strip mined into oblivion. The people were told the cleanest methods would be used to extract the coal and that when they were finished no one would be able tell they had been there. They devastated the springs and most of the area, all for a relatively small amount of coal.

Brian Moran is taking a stand on the Surry plant because he knows the only way to stop new coal plants, mountain top removal, strip mining and offshore drilling is to move Virginia to 25% renewable energy (along with greater efficiency) these issues are all connected and that's why he has proposed a 25% renewable energy mandate. Moving to more renewable energy also means the new jobs we need to fix our economy. That's how we get this done but we will need everyone's help to make it happen.

Continuing the philosophy

that got us into the financial mess and the climate mess: short-term bottom line profit created by an unregulated "free" market is God's way (or at least, the theory is held with religious fervor); God gave us the earth to exploit, and he will take care of us so don't worry about destroying the landscape. Social costs, long-term stewardship of God's land is political leftie emotionalism, and ecourages socialism. As for climate change, that is probably happening but it is not due to mankind's works; it is due either to God's plan for the world, or due to a change in the sun, which occurs at times, and has occurred in the past (if you believe the earth is older than 6,000 years, that is). See, the Republicans accommodate all such views, including a little corner for "science." The rest of the Al Gore hype is just his little ego trip. Got that?

Believe me, this passes for intellectual rigor in republican-land. This is their secular religion.

Thanks for the reminder...

...of why we need to demolish the Republicans this November -- win the governorship, hold the Senate and take the House of Delegates.

They lost the White House and Congress because they were so far out of touch with reality. And here in Virginia, they still haven't learned their lesson -- which is why we need to teach it to them.

No such thing as...

The technology for burning coal has improved in the past 25 years, however there is no such thing as clean coal, doesn't exist, never will. Burning carbon emits greenhouse gases, no matter how much "scrubbing" the energy companies do. The new Wise county Dominion plant will spew BILLIONS of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Dominion owns the Governor, the House and the Senate as well as the State Corporation Commission, all of whom do precisely what Dominion tells them to do. A good example is the recent huge electric increase granted to Domnion, this was done because of massive increases in the cost of coal. Since this coal has recently decresed by more than 50%, does anyone think the SCC will reverse the massive increase given to Dominion? No way, just huge profits for the "regulated" utility.

Statutorily it must

Fuel costs are a direct pass through to the rate payer. The utility makes absolutely no money on them. What the utility pays for fuel, you pay for fuel.

If you are interested, you can see the specific Virginia Code here. There is another relevant section that I am quoting below:

§ 56-248.1. Commission to monitor fuel prices and utility fuel purchases; fuel price index.
The Commission shall monitor all fuel purchases, transportation costs, and contracts for such purchases of a utility to ascertain that all feasible economies are being utilized.
In addition, the Commission shall establish a fuel price index in order to compare the prices paid for the various types of fuel by Virginia utilities with the average price of the various types of fuel paid by other public utilities at comparable geographic locations in the market.