Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor in Virginia, has officially joined President Obama’s war on coal. On Tuesday the Washington Post reported that McAuliffe said for the first time “that he supports EPA rules on coal-fired plants.”
During a tour of MicroTech, a Northern Virginia company, a reporter asked McAuliffe if he supported the new EPA coal industry guidelines, which were released two weeks ago, “as they are written right now.” The guidelines will, in effect, prohibit the construction of any new coal fired power plants and force many currently operating coal fired power plants to shut down.
McAuliffe gave an unequivocal affirmative response. “I do, you bet,” he said. “What I’ve looked at, I support what we need to do to obviously protect our air and our water.”
The campaign of Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli immediately hit McAuliffe for waiting until the last minute before the election to disclose to the voters of Virginia his true anti-coal industry position. The campaign issued a statement saying that “McAuliffe had been ‘deliberately misleading Virginia voters’ by suggesting he supported the coal industry.”
The statement elaborated, asking, “How is it even possible that a person running to be Virginia’s chief executive would come out in support of a policy that will put our Commonwealth at a competitive disadvantage and put men and women – particularly in Southwest Virginia – out of work?”
Cuccinelli criticized McAuliffe for joining President Obama’s war on coal, which he said will hurt Virginia voters. “As I have said repeatedly in recent months,” the statement quoted Cuccinelli as saying, “the war on coal is a war on Virginia’s poor and a war on competitiveness for Virginia.”
Until Tuesday, McAuliffe had gone to great lengths to distance himself from his own anti-coal industry positions he articulated during his unsuccessful 2009 campaign for governor of Virginia. As Breitbart News reported in July, “When he ran for governor in 2009, McAuliffe stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama and his war on coal.” The Washington Post reported that in April 2009 McAuliffe declared “[w]e have got to move past coal. As governor, I never want another coal plant built.'”
McAuliffe’s full embrace of President Obama’s coal industry policies indicates that he has decided to no longer hide the true and long held position on coal. His enlistment in Obama’s army to kill the coal industry, however, is unlikely to play well in coal rich southwestern Virginia. McAuliffe, however, has made it clear for some time that he has written off anyone in the state who makes a living in the coal industry, and is playing to his based of left wing activists and federal employees who live in Northern Virginia.
Next Gen Climate Action PAC, an independent expenditure committee financed by left-wing San Francisco billionaire and anti-coal activist Tom Steyer, has funded a heavy buy of negative television ads attacking Cuccinelli on envirornmental issues.
Until Monday’s NewsMax/Zogby poll, which shows the race to be a virtual dead heat, most polls showed McAuliffe with a lead of three to seven points. McAuliffe’s admission that he has joined President Obama’s war on coal may be a key turning point in the election for Virginia’s governor, which will be held in five weeks.