As our country prepares to elect a new president in November and we must choose who will bring our country forward, the disparity between Barack Obama and John McCain is clear. Where Obama is wavering on every issue he stood for in the primary season, McCain is offering real solutions to the issues we are facing every day.
Recently, the conversation has turned to energy, and once again, Obama's unwillingness to offer innovative solutions on this pressing issue is in contrast with McCain's desire for immediate action.
This is especially true in comparing the two men's stance on coal.
Obama and his Congressional Democrat supporters believe coal is a "dirty energy" that ought to be taxed. Obama has said "what we need to tax is dirty energy, like coal, and to a lesser extent, natural gas," and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has echoed that sentiment in saying "coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick." What Harry Reid calls "dirty energy" that "makes us sick" also happens to put food on the tables and roofs over the heads of many hardworking Colorado families. Not to mention that coal provides seven-tenths of our state's electricity. In 2006, Colorado produced 36,000 short tons of coal and consumed 19,707 to generate electricity.
Home to more than 5 percent of annual natural gas production in the country, Colorado has seven of the nation's 100 largest natural gas fields. Obama wants to tax that, too, which would definitely burden Colorado households, about three-fourths of which use natural gas as their primary energy source for home heating - one of the highest shares in the country. We can't afford Obama's tax hikes on top of the ever-rising gas prices that will come if he reinstates the windfall profits tax on oil companies, a measure he supports despite its failure in the 1980s.
McCain is dedicated to using our coal to the nation's advantage through the development of clean coal technologies, which will, in turn, decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources and could produce 30,000 jobs for Americans. He knows it plays a crucial role in our future energy portfolio. Developing clean coal that's commercially viable on a large scale requires investment by the federal government, and as president, McCain has said he will commit $2 billion annually toward this technology's advancement. He thinks we must invest now in the science, research, and development to produce and sell clean coal globally, which will contribute to the international green economy.
In addition to taxing coal and natural gas, Obama will consider banning "new traditional coal facilities" to develop clean coal technology. Reid has gone so far as to say "there is no clean coal technology," and a spokesman for the Nevada Senator said Reid's "antipathy toward coal extends beyond Nevada and is not limited to conventional plants." Western states such as Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico rely on coal - and it's a vital part of these states' economies. This is a pessimistic and out-of-touch attitude and it's the wrong approach to utilizing coal to our benefit. With the possibility of thousands of new jobs, a cleaner environment, and less dependence on foreign energy, why would Obama and the Democrat Congressional leadership want to hinder its innovation?
Considering half our country's electricity is coal-produced, moving forward with our energy portfolio must include a large component of coal. The U.S. Department of Energy says our 267 billion short tons of coal reserves comprise 27 percent of the world total. We depend on this resource, especially here in Colorado, and we need a president who will work for our best interests.
Obama is wrong for Colorado and his high-tax platform and misguided policies toward coal would no doubt bring the wrong kind of "change" to our lives and livelihoods.
John McCain's pro-growth economic plan, coupled with his desire for innovative ways to achieve energy independence and boost domestic energy production while causing minimal effects on the environment exemplifies the type of leadership only a man with the experience, courage, and tenacity to bring America forward can offer.