Boucher Buckles to Big Coal

“I’ve been a supporter of yours since your first race, but it’s time to put the health of the planet ahead of short-term profits,” read a statement from Chris Prokosch of Floyd, Virginia. “The coal industry will have to clean up sooner or later – later may be too late for all of us.” CCAN

I’ve been a supporter too of Rick Boucher since his first race in the 70’s and proud of a lot of what he’s done for Southwest Virginia. I’m not proud of his appeasement of Big Coal. Neither were the 15 who were arrested in protesting his decisions in favor of his financiers and against coal communities and their mountains, against their future and ours. Shame on you, Rick. This is no way to finish off an otherwise admirable career as public servant.

CCAN director Mike Tidwell, a Grist contributor, was among those arrested. “This is a climate mugging of the American people,” said Tidwell before his arrest. “Waxman-Markey is becoming a coal industry welfare bill.” (See Grist’s breakdown of where green groups stand on the bill.)

A spokesperson for the organization said the protest, which comes on the last day of debate of the Waxman-Markey bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee, is not really about the bill itself or the markup process to date.

“It’s really a statement about Boucher and the leadership he has assumed in gutting the bill and giving billions of dollars to polluters,” CCAN communications director Anne Havemann told Grist after the protest. Grist

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I called two weeks ago to Ricks office and talked to his page. I expressed my disappointment that he wanted to reduce the carbon from Obama’s 14% emmissions to 6% and other problems with flat top removal. I suggested that I would like to see him compromise an effort to colonize wind turbines on those flat tops and begin clean energy on top of old dirty energy. Today I received a letter from Rick, Thanking me for my call and concern, the letter was all about heath care and what he has done for the 9th and will support the health care bill, no mention of Clean Energy! That’s a NO vote for me!

  2. I’ve had similar experiences with my Congressmen that Carter has had. Such experiences increase my alienation from government and fuel my belief that we live in a country of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy. No wonder there is so much frustration and anger out there!

  3. Is “buckling” is the right choice of words?

    The introduction of limits to the production or release of CO2 must be the first priority.

    First the acceptance of limits, then a market, then price will chase the right to pollute, and as the pollution credit market tightens the incentive to respond to price pressure will grow.

    I think Boucher is doing his job, balancing the dinosaur industries interests, with the evolving political and environmental realities. Cap and trade is our best hope for accepting these realities.

    Rather than whining about the pace or devilish details of legislative change, get on board; political weight comes from the voices and shared perceptions of the citizens.

    Honey will catch more flies than vinegar.