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So Much for Byrd’s Legacy

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In the twilight years of his long Senate career, the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) became a strong supporter of climate science & the need to move to a new energy economy. Meanwhile, Gov. Joe Manchin is Big Coal’s best friend, staunchly opposing clean energy & climate action. So which position do you think Manchin’s appointee to Byrd’s Senate seat, Carte Goodwin, will take?

“I’m a little reluctant to get into extensive policy discussion on any particular piece of legislation,” Goodwin, 36, said at a press  conference in Charleston, W.Va. “That being said, with regard to cap and  trade, I will say this: From what I’ve seen of the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House of Representatives and other proposals pending in  the Senate, they simply are not right for West Virginia.”

Wouldn’t want to start moving away from coal, even though coal employment is plummeting, now providing fewer than 30,000 jobs total in West Virginia, Virginia & Kentucky combined. But go ahead, make it seem like pledging allegiance to coal is somehow patriotic:

Goodwin’s position appears to closely mirror Manchin, who has also been a vocal critic of cap and trade, and the governor said that while there was discussion of the policy, there was no “litmus test” to earn the Senate appointment.

“I know he’s fiercely independent, but I also know the love of West Virginia,” Machin  said of the new senator. “So it wasn’t like a litmus test had to be given.”

Who needs some silly litmus test when you already know he’ll serve as Big Coal’s #1 man in the Senate?

So what will Goodwin support? Giving away more tax dollars to Big Coal to fund the search for imaginary technology!

Goodwin did say he was interested in backing a bill from Sens. Jay  Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) to develop carbon sequestration technology.

Pro-coal West Virginia politicians like to paint themselves as looking out for the little guy. I know who they’re looking out for, and there’s nothing little about him.

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

  • TomPaine

    The preservation of the coal industry is important for more than those few coal miners. That industry funds retirement and health care benefits for those miners, retired miners, and their families. That “imaginary technology” gives them a lifeline to their future. These people are not so well-educated that they could qualify the few jobs available or created in the future in their communities. The coal indusdtry is what keeps their communities in existence.  

  • There isn’t a simple discussion to be had on coal.  West Virginia had so mucked up its business code to make it almost impossible for well paying jobs to come into the state.  They’ve done this because so many companies have historically come in and robbed everyone blind, and now they find themselves in a Catch-22.  Right now, coal has every reason to oppose other well paying jobs — keep wages lower and they remain the dominant company and the cultural force.  But that being said, you simply cannot remove coal mining from the state of WV.  It’s not being imaginary to admit that the economy as it stands now relies upon it and the ripple effects.  Taking it out means economic flu in a state that can’t afford an economic cold.

    What we need is a long-term economic plan in WV to reform the codes and bring in new business.  Good luck with that….

    But honestly, it doesn’t matter one whit what the interim person things.  It’s Manchin’s seat.  The Manchin family has been in Marion County forever, which is also my mother’s home county.  My grandmother was one of the Grande Dames of the Dem party in that county, and she always described Manchin as “Republican mutton dressed as Democrat lamb.”  In other words, he would have been a Republican if he had come from a county other than Marion, and a state other than WV.  That said, Manchin and his administration have been very good to me personally, as I’ve spent a great deal of time touring the state after my novel THE MINER’S DAUGHTER came out.

    Why do you all think I was MISERABLE when Byrd passed?  There is no one else.

  • Brian

    He was sworn in today and his first vote was cast in favor of breaking the Unemployment benefits continuation filibuster.

    Also as I’m understanding it, he’s just serving out Byrd’s final term. As you know, Senator Byrd had the unfortunate calamity of dying, bestowed on him. Usually under our system of governance, whenever a person dies-or moves on to higher office through appointment;see Christie Todd Whitman, the Governor of the state appoints a person to fill out the rest of the term and then calls a special election. That’s what’s happening in WV. Now in August or September, he’s fair game,but still, its not like he’s going to be the next Robert Byrd of West Virginia and stick around for a half a century or more! He’s more a Paul Kirk, or a woman, who in yesteryear, upon the death of her husband would finish his legacy.

    Should Goodwin run in the primary win, and then win the special election, and any other needed, that I can see a case being made. But we haven’t crossed that bridge yet. Also another issue is even after that he be a junior most member in a institution that is based on Seniority. So I think there a lot of flaws in your argument.  

    • “Imaginary technology” referred to “clean” coal technology, not to coal miner’s pensions. I would appreciate you not twisting my words.