The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Kerry and West Virginia mountaintop mining

West Virginia is only five EVs, but every little helps. And a connect-the-dots appreciation might suggest that the candidate with the most expansive coal policy should take the state.

Mountaintop mining [1] sounds like the sort of activity that Mountain Staters would like presidential candidates to say is none of their business, if they can't bring themselves actually to support it. When the dragline's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'.

And we have a piece of solid evidence of John Kerry's stance on the subject in his vote on November 18 1999 (Roll Call 370) on an amendment by Robert Byrd designed to reverse a decision of US District Judge Charles Haden which had the effect of stopping mountaintop mining in West Virginia [2].

The amendment passed 56-33, and, heedless of those five EVs coming in handy some day, Kerry voted against [3].

(There's plenty more where that came from - Kerry rates a lifetime score of 96 (PDF) with the League of Conservation Voters.)

Kerry has made his bed, surely?

What, then of today's piece in the Charleston Gazette saying that the Kerry campaign is refusing to confirm his opposition to mountaintop mining?

The question was prompted an NPR documentary piece in which, around 13:25 in, LCV president Deb Callaghan says
John Kerry is opposed to mountaintop mining.

Given the 1999 vote, and Kerry's line on such issues generally, why the hesitation from his campaign? Especially given the danger of feeding that whole flip-flop thing.

According to the Gazette piece,
Three weeks ago...the Kerry campaign refused to comment on Bush rollbacks concerning strip mining regulations.

At the time, a new survey by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake had been released showing that 56 percent of West Virginians oppose mountaintop removal.

Conceivably, a Kerry fudge on the issue might loose more votes than it gains in the state - mines aren't usually the best neighbours in the world, and mining contributes only 13% of the West Virginia's gross state product (it says here [4]).

Might be one to follow.

  1. Information from USG and from the industry.

  2. I'm getting the most detail on this from Bob Novak, he of the South Dakota Indians ballot-box-stuffing roorback of earlier this year (January 13). Beggars can't be choosers, though.

  3. Joining Byrd were a slew of other Dems; Jay Rockefeller, one can understand; but Kerry Ikette Max Cleland of Georgia? Both Akaka and Inouye of Hawaii? From Indiana, Lugar voted against, Bayh in favour. The Louisiana DINOs split Breaux breaking for, Landrieu against.

  4. Again, Google craps out on a statistical search.

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