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Who Loves Coal More?

by Will Evans
Oct 13, 2008

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John McCain's campaign likes to hammer Barack Obama and running mate Joseph Biden for not backing coal production. Now the United Mine Workers of America is throwing it back at McCain.

The mining union has radio ads in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia blasting McCain for supporting a bill that would reduce coal production. The ad says:

The jobs coal mining provides and the taxes paid on coal production make a real difference for our communities. That's why it's so important to our families that coal doesn't get left out of America's energy future. But that's exactly what Sen. John McCain did with a bill he introduced in Congress in 2003.

The ad cites a government study that the bill, S. 139, would reduce coal production by 78 percent. But Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), who cosponsored the legislation with McCain, replaced it with an amended bill under which production would decline by 59 percent by 2025, according to the study. That amended bill was cosponsored by McCain... and none other than Joe Biden (D-DE). In fact, most Democrats supported it, but it was defeated mainly by Republican votes.

The union's ads are something of a response to McCain's coal-country radio ads, which said, "Obama, Biden and their liberal allies oppose clean coal." That claim was deemed "not true" by Factcheck.org.

Since coal country overlaps with battleground country, we expect more fact-impaired sparring over who is coal's best friend.

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