Jay Rockefeller on rocky ground with coal

posted at 9:16 am on May 12, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

As Ed already reported this week, the Obama administration has taken belated notice of the fact that coal still provides a lot of the nation’s energy, (and jobs!) and is attempting to recalculate their political playbook accordingly. Not everyone seems to have gotten the memo, though, including one Jay Rockefeller. There is currently an amendment to the transportation bill on the table, put forward by David McKinley, which would stop the EPA from regulating coal ash as a “hazardous substance.” But even though the senator comes from coal country himself, he can’t seem to get on board.

“I’m going to keep working on coal ash reuse, but I’m not going to pretend to West Virginians that it’s ready or right for the highway bill,” Rockefeller noted. “We need roads and bridges and the jobs that go with them in our state, not political games. House Republicans want to cut transportation funding more deeply than ever before, and they should stop trying to distract West Virginians from the harm of their real agenda.”

On April 18, the House voted to extend federal transportation funding through September. The measure passed on to the Senate included McKinley’s coal ash amendment, as well as another provision permitting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.

If Rockefeller were basing his opposition solely on the position that we wind up with extraneous amendments to bills all the time which gum up the process, I could almost get behind him here. But the idea that the EPA amendment is cluttering up the legislation with unrelated nonsense simply doesn’t hold water. Coal ash is one of many additives which are used in paving applications and it helps hold down the cost of road construction work. (The industry manages an amazing program of recycling everything from old asphalt pavement to ground up tires.) Arguing that this is not applicable to the transportation bill is unfounded.

So where is Rockefeller getting these peculiar ideas? Perhaps from an unlikely source.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is being called on by the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club in its fight to kill another West Virginia representative’s coal ash provision of the transportation bill…

Rockefeller, a Democratic member of the conference committee appointed to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the transportation bill, said he would not support the amendment.

“Separately, I want to make it clear that I cannot support the environmental provisions that have been attached to the surface bill by the House,” Rockefeller said in a statement issued last week. “These riders would jeopardize the tremendous bipartisan support this bill has had so far in the Senate.”

For somebody who has been knocking around W. Virginia politics for so long, choosing to go against coal and in favor of the Sierra Club is an odd choice to say the least. And given the area’s unemployment rate and dependence on the industry in question, you’d think this would have been a no brainer for the Senator. Live and learn, I suppose.


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And WV will reelect him anyway.

rbj on May 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

you’d think this would have been a no brainer for the Senator (Rockefeller).

Therein lies the first clue. Rockefeller acting like a no-brainer being led by no-brainer fellow travelers of the Sierra Club.

onlineanalyst on May 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

If people can’t see through this administrations con artist tactics by now, they are hopelessly brainwashed and there will be no change in them.

Mimzey on May 12, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Rockefeller is just another in a long list of old fossils who have been rippping off the tax payers for their entire life, vote him out and pass a bill limiting congress critter and senate scum pay to that of a military officer, no more. Oh and cut their staff by 75%.

ConcealedKerry on May 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

John D. Rockefeller is probably rolling over in his grave seeing what a bunch of progressive idiots his descendants are.

steebo77 on May 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Millionaires and BILLIONAIRES.

vityas on May 12, 2012 at 9:33 AM

ConcealedKerry on May 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

That^

Mimzey on May 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

If the coal ash is reused in building roads, then shouldn’t coal be called a green, renewable energy. Is there an inmate in fed prison there who can run against Rocky next time?

Kissmygrits on May 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

A$$hole.

DevilsPrinciple on May 12, 2012 at 9:37 AM

John D. Rockefeller is probably rolling over in his grave seeing what a bunch of progressive idiots his descendants are.

Makes you wonder if they are his?

Wade on May 12, 2012 at 9:38 AM

His term’s up in 2014, so he probably doesn’t think he has to be for coal for another 18 months.

jon1979 on May 12, 2012 at 9:38 AM

ASHhole

Wade on May 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Is he related to Ted Kennedy?

docflash on May 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

WV is at the beginning of the road KY was on 10-12 years ago in realizing that the “old” democrat party of their grandparents is gone and been replaced by communists who view anyone who lives between the two coasts as fodder better off dead in a Stalin-Mao “great leap forward” project.

At least, they realize the democrats at the federal level are of that type.

wildcat72 on May 12, 2012 at 9:45 AM

“We need roads and bridges and the jobs that go with them in our state, not political games. House Republicans want to cut transportation funding more deeply than ever before, and they should stop trying to distract West Virginians from the harm of their real agenda.”

If I am not mistaken, WV has the best roads and bridges in the country, thanks to KKK Burd. Who is trying to distract West Virginians? The party that says, “I’m going to eliminate your ability to earn a living, but just think how fresh the air will smell while you’re sitting on your porch waiting for your government check!” That’s who.

Night Owl on May 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Maybe he will be primaried by a rastafarian felon who supports the coal industry – and LOSE to him.

Philly on May 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Of course, there’s no reason to think that something carrying extremely high concentrations of lead, arsenic, mercury and uranium might be toxic.

If I am not mistaken, WV has the best roads and bridges in the country, thanks to KKK Burd. Who is trying to distract West Virginians? The party that says, “I’m going to eliminate your ability to earn a living, but just think how fresh the air will smell while you’re sitting on your porch waiting for your government check!” That’s who.

Night Owl on May 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

You are mistaken.

John D. Rockefeller is probably rolling over in his grave seeing what a bunch of progressive idiots his descendants are.

steebo77 on May 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Starting with John D., the Rockefellers have a lengthy history of progressive actions, from the original’s philanthropy, to the JDR II’s “invention of modern philanthropy” to support of historically black colleges and universities (Spellman College is named after a Rockefeller) to “liberal Republican” governorships in New York and Arkansas.

JDR, a deeply Christian man, would likely be quite proud.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM

And why is this guy not considered an evil capitalist member of the 1%?

AubieJon on May 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Again, we really need term limits. Congress necessarily cannot be a ‘job for life’.

That applies to these old windbags on both sides of the aisle. Especially the ‘foreign policy experts’ whose expertise in foreign policy seems to derive from taking taxpayer funded junkets, staying in world class hotels, and shmoozing with foreign crooks.

CorporatePiggy on May 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

And WV will reelect him anyway.

rbj on May 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Don’t count on it. The Democrat Party’s days are numbered in WV.

forest on May 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Jay isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Just shows what inbreeding will do.

GarandFan on May 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Rockefeller/Judd 2016!

Akzed on May 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Night Owl, you are mistaken. WV has some pretty sorry roads and bridges.

Steebo77, John D. was a progressive for his day. He was a capitalist as long as it made him money, and the rest of the time he was much like his grandkids.

And, most likely, WV will re-elect Jay. WV voters are nothing if not mentally defective.

Quartermaster on May 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Don’t count on it. The Democrat Party’s days are numbered in WV.
forest on May 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

The democrat party has no future outside the cities, which are high tax, low entrepreneur welfare distribution centers.

States that lack huge cities, like WV and KY won’t be electing democrats for much longer.

wildcat72 on May 12, 2012 at 10:06 AM

The good people of WV are getting wise to the Marxist leftists who have hijacked the Dem party. When is this bozo Jay up for re-election? The fight he picks with coal, hence the people of WV, could be his last.

petefrt on May 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

J will be there til death. WV people tend to vote for who they know. Also, we don’t have a very high population. It’s easy for an incumbent to pay for something useful, slap his name on it, and say “look what I’ve done.” Only have to do it a few times before everyone knows someone who has been helped by Rockefeller.

His replacement is unlikely to be a Dem though.

Pattosensei on May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

The good people of WV are getting wise to the Marxist leftists who have hijacked the Dem party. When is this bozo Jay up for re-election? The fight he picks with coal, hence the people of WV, could be his last.

petefrt on May 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Given that Rockefeller has held elective office in West Virginia since the 60s, I think 1) the people of West Virginia know him by now and 2) he’s hardly a hijacker.

He’s also pro-coal and pro-steel.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Rockefeller is a carpetbagger from New York. He bought a Senatorship in West Virginia a long time ago because the cheapskate saw that it was the cheapest one on the market. He helped West Virginia a little over the years, but his “progressivism” is now out of the closet. His attacks on the coal industry – West Virginia’s bread and butter – have sealed his fate. He will not be re-elected.

Elric on May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

somebody who has been knocking around W. Virginia politics for so long, choosing to go against coal and in favor of the Sierra Club is an odd choice to say the least

…another one who should have been gone twenty years ago…his mind was going when RR’s was…but he’s still alive.

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Elric on May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

He went to West Virginia as a VISTA volunteer and started as a state representative. You know nothing.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

JDR, a deeply Christian man, would likely be quite proud.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM

so is Jimmy (It’s the JEWS fault) Carter.. Doesn’t mean he can’t be profoundly, bone shakingly wrong on every issue.

The Rockefeller name is forever tied to the Attica prison riot debacle for my generation. Not a great legacy they have, pushing every progressive whim, while denouncing all opposition as racist and evil.. When they left the republican party for good and ran as the open left wingers they are, was a great day for the integrity of the GOP..

mark81150 on May 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

He will not be re-elected.

Elric on May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

…when the day comes…they will be wheeling him in like Robert Byrd to take his votes…and when he dies…he still might be re-elected!

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2012 at 10:37 AM

He went to West Virginia as a VISTA volunteer and started as a state representative. You know nothing.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

…says the troll who can’t find two brain cells to rub together!

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Starting with John D., the Rockefellers have a lengthy history of progressive actions, from the original’s philanthropy, to the JDR II’s “invention of modern philanthropy” to support of historically black colleges and universities (Spellman College is named after a Rockefeller) to “liberal Republican” governorships in New York and Arkansas.

JDR, a deeply Christian man, would likely be quite proud.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Philanthropy is not a progressive value. Progressives advocate for empowering the government to confiscate all disposable income so that the elites may decide who is worthy of government largesse. Voluntary charity comes from the heart. Despite it being redundant to say ‘voluntary charity’, with some people it is necessary.

Fenris on May 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

I hear Keith Judd has plenty of time on his hands and is an excellent campaigner in WV.

hillsoftx on May 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM

He went to West Virginia as a VISTA volunteer and started as a state representative. You know nothing.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

I guess that beat joining the Peace Corp, and ending up in a third world country then for him..didn’t it?.. not that the monied left hasn’t always treated flyover America as a den of ignorant third worlders to be “civilized” by the enlightened progressives… they have.

I live in Ohio, WV was always close enough to be like cousins, and Ohio too, has a large coal industry in the southern half of the state.. the left succeeds in killing coal, they turn Ohio and WV solid red again..

We’re already still suffering a depression level economy in the coal states,.. Obama has offered us nothing but more misery more unemployment.. with his yahoo amen chorus like Rockefeller cheering him on.. The EPA has no business knee capping coal.. since most of our power plants use it, you want to guarantee the GOP sweeps the board.. you shut down our coal plants, and see how well the US population reacts to blackouts..

You urban tools have no idea how power is generated, or food is grown, or goods manufactured.. you just seem to think that unicorn farts will power the economy if you get rid of the evil coal monster..

keep it up,.. we like states going red.

mark81150 on May 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

And given the area’s unemployment rate and dependence on the industry in question, you’d think this would have been a no brainer for the Senator. Live and learn, I suppose.

OK, that one made me laugh.

4Grace on May 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM

House Republicans want to cut transportation funding more deeply than ever before, and they should stop trying to distract West Virginians from the harm of their real agenda.”

This is the time someone needs to be asking, “what do you believe their real agenda is, and how does that harm West Virginians?”

We can’t continue to allow them to lie like this.

Ditkaca on May 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Again, we really need term limits. Congress necessarily cannot be a ‘job for life’.

CorporatePiggy on May 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Agreed. It’s been said that U.S. Senator Dick Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, was calling on Democrats for their votes. That’s what 80 years old does to the mind.

timberline on May 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM

We can’t continue to allow them to lie like this.

Ditkaca on May 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

…who’s going to stop them?…do you own the airwaves and buy ink by the barrel?
Those that do…are helping them…sometimes leading the way.

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And David had to be the Rockefeller eaten by cannibals. Life ain’t fair.

Rixon on May 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

So is coal ash dumped in lakes or used for building materials? I never seem to get enough information.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

So is coal ash dumped in lakes or used for building materials? I never seem to get enough information.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM

If the plant has the fly ash separation technology installed then yes. I finished a project several years ago where one of the largest concrete companies in American leased space at a power plant to put their own technology in to separate out the fly ash and use the remnants for their concrete.

http://www.proash.com/wordpress/?page_id=680

reddevil on May 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

West Virginians will never vote him out. They voted Byrd in for literally decades. Why they stick with Democrats, I’ll never know, because all these liberal politicians have ever done is work for themselves. Rockefeller is just another rich, spoiled out-of-stater who inserted himself into West Virginia’s government because the state was ripe for the taking. West Virginians complain and threaten to take action, but they never do. They just keep going to the polls and voting for the same progressive parasites they have for most of the state’s history. I was amazed when most of them voted for McCain, but then, we saw how much good that did. That sociopath usurped our White House anyway.

blackgriffin on May 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Rockefeller is to West Virginia as Fritz Hollings was to South Carolina.

SouthernGent on May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

reddevil on May 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I haven’t read your link yet but I did go back to the article I missed. It said 43% is recycled into building materials. If the economy ever gets back on track it seems like that number could increase and I wonder if it could be exported to countries that are actually building. Although I guess they might have their own domestic supply from their utilities.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

reddevil on May 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Cool! One of those is right here in my neck of the woods. I like when there is a solution instead of a banning.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM

We’re already still suffering a depression level economy in the coal states,.. Obama has offered us nothing but more misery more unemployment.. with his yahoo amen chorus like Rockefeller cheering him on.. The EPA has no business knee capping coal.. since most of our power plants use it, you want to guarantee the GOP sweeps the board.. you shut down our coal plants, and see how well the US population reacts to blackouts..

You urban tools have no idea how power is generated, or food is grown, or goods manufactured.. you just seem to think that unicorn farts will power the economy if you get rid of the evil coal monster..

keep it up,.. we like states going red.

mark81150 on May 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Actually, we do know how food is grown, power is generated and goods are manufactured. Your Palin-esque reverse snobbery is no more attractive than my snobbery would be if I went off on the red state America in equally broad and ignorant strokes.

Coal is dirty, generates toxic leftovers,is procured by destroying the land, and is run by people who don’t mind killing miners for a few cents a ton profit. It is also, at this point, necessary. However, given that it is both dirtier and more expensive than natural gas and — arguably — nukes, it is destined to fade away over the next century, giving miners plenty of time to transition (as they have been for years — there are only 87,000 coal miners in the country today) assuming, the support for education and retraining is there.

And, Ohio’s unemployment rate is below the national average.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

toxic =/= hazardous

trace elements =/= “extremely high concentrations”

Why do liberals hate science?

blink on May 12, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Once the coal is burned, the concentration in the ash increases dramatically. And many toxic things are indeed hazardous. Keeping toxic things from becoming hazardous is a fairly important, hence the potential need to handle coal ash in prescribed procedures.

Why do conservatives all sound like Clinton talking about sex?

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Regardless, if it’s more expensive (without the needless regulation that you’re trying to attach to it in a deliberate attempt to force it to be more expensive), then why do you need to worry about it?

Why do liberals hate economics?

blink on May 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Because of the damage it can do in the mean time, moron.

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

urban elitist

I am a life-long West Virginia resident and have followed Rockefeller from his VISTA days. Of course he started out in the state legislature. He is a carpetbagger nonetheless. Your arguments are generally unsupported and tend to be very opinionated, and your personal put-downs have the effect of reducing the substance of any actual point to your arguments.

Elric on May 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

The EPA website used to be one of the best sites to glean terrific information about coal ash. Now, not so friendly. Clearly, this is politically and economically motivated and enacted. With a half a million jobs linked to mining coal, let’s ponder how many jobs are tied into distributing, transporting, burning, and recycling coal. (Yes, some coal ash can be burned twice and the result is a pozzolanic hydraulic cement.)

Though ash has very little dollar value as a commodity, its usage value is incredible. Portland cement is the glue for concrete. Producing portland cement is a nasty energy intensive business that is typically conducted beyond the edge of town, off the radar, beneath suspicion… Generally with highway concrete or building slabs, you can swap out 30 percent of the portland cement for coal ash, use less water, and obtain better workability, achieve a better, stronger, more flexible placement, and have a longer life-cycle product.

How does this fit in with Obama’s plan to eradicate one of the least expensive, easily obtained, and bountiful energy sources in favor of supporting a religion of global climate buffoonery?

ericdijon on May 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Once the coal is burned, the concentration in the ash increases dramatically. And many toxic things are indeed hazardous. Keeping toxic things from becoming hazardous is a fairly important, hence the potential need to handle coal ash in prescribed procedures.

Why do conservatives all sound like Clinton talking about sex?

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

No better example of having a general mis-understanding of mass balance than that…

ericdijon on May 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Rockefeller is to West Virginia as Fritz Hollings was to South Carolina.

SouthernGent on May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

.
He’ll die in office, just like Robert KKK Byrd.

listens2glenn on May 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

How does this fit in with Obama’s plan to eradicate one of the least expensive, easily obtained, and bountiful energy sources in favor of supporting a religion of global climate buffoonery?

ericdijon on May 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

.
It’s all about disarming/disabling (neutering) the United States, so that One-World Government can be achieved.

The U.S. is the obstacle standing in the way of that agenda.

All good liberal commies everywhere in the world are working hard to promote that agenda, and that would include President Barack Obama.

listens2glenn on May 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

There will never be a new coal power plant built in the United States EVER again. EPA regualtions, cheap natural gas, and it is cheaper to build natuaral gas power plants. The power industry loves natural gas and are saying buh-bye to new coal plants. Gas is cheaper and cleaner. Win Win for consumers and the environment.

ZippyZ on May 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Coal is dirty, generates toxic leftovers,is procured by destroying the land

urban elitist on May 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

lol, oh please, Minerva, don’t get your Pampers in a knot. Have you ever actually been in coal country? I have, many times. The land is worthless otherwise. How can you “destroy” something that has no other use or value?

If the coal miners were not harvesting a natural resource, what would the land they are mining the coal be doing that would be more valuable for its owner? Can’t be built on.

F-

Del Dolemonte on May 12, 2012 at 2:50 PM

ericdijon on May 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

And you can bet that the Chinese are not practicing such ecologically sound recycling with their coal burning.

onlineanalyst on May 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

onlineanalyst on May 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I’m going to assume that you’ve never been to China, but you’ve read plenty about it.

ericdijon on May 12, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Ah, those big-money trust fund babies. Most of them never worked a day in their lives.

mike0993 on May 13, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Another idiot that thinks nat gas will stay under $2.50/mcf forever.

blink on May 12, 2012 at 3:23 PM

It must be tough going through life so ignornat. There isn’t one new coal fired plant scheduled to be built in the entire United States for for the next 20 years. The free market utilities are deciding this on their own. Please do a little research on this topic on your own. You may learn that your view of the world is wrong. It has nothing to do with politics. Plwase don’t believe what other people say all the time. Try to read facts for yourself and deduce what they mean. I know it may take a little more work, but then you will not be so easily manipulated by other groups who have their own agenda.

ZippyZ on May 13, 2012 at 1:12 PM