Whitesburg KY

Clintons talk about coal mining issues

Sen. Hillary Clinton has joined Sen. Barack Obama in playing it safe when it comes to the controversial issue of mountaintop-removal strip mining for coal.

During an interview with Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Lesley Stedman Wiedenbiener on March 29, Wiedenbiener asked, “Mountaintop mining has been a big issue in Kentucky. How would you approach that issue?”

Clinton replied, “This is one of these areas where we’ve got to get everybody together and come up with some solutions. I understand the argument that it’s a cost-effective way to get at the coal, but I also understand and sympathize with the concerns people have about stream and river pollution, about the effects on the environment and the livelihoods of people who are in other walks of life in the economy. My administration would serve as a mediator and conciliatory presence in trying to figure out what we’re going to do.”

Obama also played it safe recently. When asked about the same issue in Beckley, W.Va., the Illinois senator said he would “listen to everybody, get everybody’s point of view, and then make the best decision for the people.”

In a related matter, former President Bill Clinton told supporters in Girardville, Pa., that his wife supports investments in clean-coal technology coal states like Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Girardville, population 1,800, has struggled to recover economically from the demise of widescale anthracite mining.

“If we led the world to the moon, we ought to be able to lead the world to clean coal,” the former president said. “I know a certain candidate who is absolutely committed to that.”

Sources: The Associated Press, the Couier-Journal, and the Institute for Rural Journalism.

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