Obama criticizes Romney’s record on coal

Obama criticizes Romney’s record on coal

President Barack Obama’s campaign is airing a radio commercial, starting today, in rural counties along the Ohio River, including Columbiana County, criticizing Republican Mitt Romney’s record on coal.

The commercial is the first ad by the Democratic president’s campaign against Romney on coal, an important issue in the state. About 85 percent of the state’s energy comes from coal.

Obama has come under scrutiny for opposing existing “dirty-coal” plants.

The commercial states that with Obama as president, Ohio coal jobs have increased by 10 percent and Ohio coal production increased seven percent. Also, Obama has invested $5 billion in federal funds to create the next generation of coal-fired power plants, the ad states.

The commercial includes Romney’s statement in 2003, just before he became governor of Massachusetts, that a coal-fired plant in Salem Harbor in that state needed to be closed because “that plant kills people.”

Romney’s campaign has said he was specifically referring to that plant, one of the oldest in the state that was not in compliance with state environmental laws, and not the entire coal industry.

Jessica Kershaw, an Obama spokeswoman, said today: “When it helps Mr. Romney politically to be an environmentalist when running for governor of Massachusetts, he declared coal-power plans kill people and enforced strict regulations without compromise. His hard-line stance that [eliminated] local jobs at the time echoes the years he spent killing and outsourcing jobs as a Bain executive.”

Romney told The Vindicator in June that Obama is looking to end the use of coal for energy, and that coal regulations have “become more and more labyrinthian, more difficult for coal to be mined and almost impossible to be used.”

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Vindicator or vindy.com

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