Friday, March 13, 2009

Virginia Governor's Race: RK alums' bizarre flip flip on Big Coal

I must confess that for the first time in a long time I am confused by something I saw in Virginia's lefty blogosphere. Yesterday it was announced that three key Raising Kaine alumni who were instrumental in the Draft Jim Webb movement were now throwing their support behind Terry McAuliffe. I found this deeply confusing, and I'll tell you why: Big Coal.

That fact that I referred to Raising Kaine as "Raising Kaine" and not "RK" should give you a hint about what I'm getting at. It was not so very long ago that Raising Kaine, the largest liberal blog in Virginia, excommunicated Governor Tim Kaine (it's namesake) for the sin of being too close to Big Coal interests and not sufficiently pro-environment. The turnabout was extreme and total. In the words of Frank Kilgore of The Daily Yonder:
One of Virginia's most influential political blogs, aptly named Raising Kaine, came into prominence bolstering Tim Kaine's candidacy and image in a state that heretofore had flat out rejected all liberal and most moderate gubernatorial candidates. Kaine, some say, was literally blogged into office by Raising Kaine and other pro-environmental groups, pro-immigrant organizations and the statewide media that had decidedly become more liberal as Republicans were repeatedly vilified for being too pro-business and too anti-tax.

* * *

When one now visits the Raising Kaine blog, all references to Tim Kaine are gone. Where his name once dominated the home page, a reverse "R" and standard "K" took its place. Most recently, the name "Hussein" fills the space between the "R" and the "K". Presumably this is a show of support for Barack Hussein Obama, the current favorite of progressives, although he himself is being criticized by some nationwide progressive blogs for tilting toward the middle in an effort to win the White House.[1]
Kaine was excised from the blog, renamed "RK", for the sin of not being sufficiently pure on the subject of coal.  Given the extreme nature of this action, one was inclined to believe that coal, energy, and environmental policy were very important to the folks who ran RK . . .

Fast forward to today, when I see this excellent discussion of Terry McAuliffe and the planned Surry coal-fired plant posted by Eileen Levandoski. Terry McAuliffe is parroting the coal industry's phony clean coal message loud and long, sounding more like an industry lobbyist than a serious contender for a nomination from the Democratic Party. Eileen lets McAuliffe have it in no uncertain terms:
What's that you say? There are no mountains in Surry to blow up in pursuit of coal? No valleys to dump waste in like they do so rampantly in Wise County VA? The coal used for any R&D on carbon capture and storage has to be shipped into our area, you say? And what? You're going to inject the carbon pollution into our sandy Tidewater soils? And is that scrubbed or unscrubbed coal we're studying? Gotta know if we need to construct any sludge ponds near our Chesapeake Bay. And ODEC is going to do all that? Gosh, who would have guessed developing "clean coal" was in the business plan of this relatively small private electric co-op. Has the Virginia General Assembly suddenly envisioned Surry to be the "Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center Part Two"? I don't remember seeing that in Virginia's 2007 Energy Plan. Strange . . .
Am I really the only Virginia Leftyblogger who finds it strange that Lowell, Josh and Lee could line up behind a guy who supports policies that are even more nakedly pro-Big Coal than those of the man whose name they stripped from their blog just a few months ago?

Somebody please explain to me how Terry McAuliffe's proposed policy on coal differs from that of Governor Tim Kaine's.  Somebody please explain to me how it is that Kaine's policy was an unforgivable betrayal of sound environmental policies while would be "Clean Coal" lobbyist McAuliffe is somehow the best choice for Virginia Democrats this year.

1 comment:

Todd said...

At the time, I didn't look at as a purity test on RK's part, more that Tim Kaine wouldn't pick up the banner and lead the charge against the Wise coal plant. Considering the situation with the HoD in Republican hands and the lack of political will, even among Dems to oppose Dominion, I think it was wrong to blame it all on Governor Kaine.

Even if the governor had the HoD in Democratic hands, it would have been difficult because many of the Dems in the HoD are misinformed about job creation and how the VSCC determined the Wise plant would actually cause a loss of 1500 jobs in Virginia.

"The Virginia State Corporation Commission staff determined that construction of Dominion's Wise County coal plant will bring a loss of about 1,500 jobs in Dominion's service territory."

RePower Virginia: Efficiency First for a Clean Energy Future (pdf brochure)

Well now we have one candidate for Governor who has taken up the banner and is leading the charge to oppose the Surry Coal Plant. He understands how the coal industry has manipulated people and he understands how we can stop new coal plants and offshore drilling by mandating 25% renewable energy and decoupling electricity profits from consumption to include real major efficiency programs.

According to a recent ACEEE study, Virginia can meet 19% of its electricity needs just through efficiency, eliminating the need for any new coal plants. And this is just using efficiency programs already being used in other states.

ACEEE: Energizing Virginia: Efficiency First

Decoupling makes it possible for many of these programs to be enacted and Brian Moran is the only candidate for Governor fighting for decoupling.