Clinton pledges support for economic ‘tragedy’ in coal country-47fh.,b43
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton pledged Monday to institute an economic development program for distressed areas of coal country.
During a campaign stop in Ashland, Ky., Clinton said the downturn in coal is a “tragedy” for parts of Appalachia, where the decline in production has cost states thousands of jobs.
“That’s why I think we need a national effort to help, and that’s because I think we owe people in this part of the country a lot, and I don’t want to walk away,” she said.
Clinton highlighted a $30 billion plan to create alternative jobs in the region, protect health and pension benefits for retired miners, and invest in clean-coal technologies.
Clinton compared her push to the Marshall Plan that revived European economies after World War II. She praised the role coal played in powering the U.S. in the past but acknowledged it’s facing tough economic, environmental and political headwinds today.
“It is a complicated problem,” she said. “Some people want to make it all political, but there are market forces, there are global challenges, there’s also the upswing in fracking … which has proved to be a very serious competitor to coal.”
Clinton is on a two-day swing through coal country ahead of the Democratic presidential primaries in Kentucky and West Virginia this month. She will meet with retired coal workers in West Virginia later on Monday.
Clinton took heat in March for saying she’d “put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business” if she’s elected president.
The line came during a discussion about her economic proposals for Appalachia, but her foes in the Republican Party and the coal industry seized on the remarks.
“It’s a bold move to stand before the very communities that will be devastated by the policies Secretary Clinton supports continuing and ask that they put their trust in her,” Laura Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said in a Monday statement.
“This isn’t even political misdirection. Secretary Clinton has made it very clear that she would be a virtual Obama 2.0, backing regulations that would stunt economic growth and hurt those who can least afford it the most.”
source-the hill, devin henry, laura sheehan