Energy

Clinton Promises ‘Millions’ Of Green Jobs — But What About Coal Country?

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said her policies would create “millions of good-paying clean energy jobs” while formally accepting her party’s nomination Thursday in what many Democrats billed as a historic night.

Clinton’s call for green jobs comes after being sharply criticized for saying her policies will “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Clinton has proposed a $30 billion spending plan to support coal communities as mines are closed, but that’s not enough for many coal supporters.

“I believe in science,” Clinton said in her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Committee in Philadelphia. “I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was quick to chastise Clinton’s call for green jobs, retweeting comments by conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

Clinton may have become the first woman to accept the nomination for president, but she’s taken a lot of heat from coal miners after she promised to continue President Barack Obama’s legacy of moving the U.S. away from coal.

“I just want to know how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of, out of jobs, and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend, because those people out there don’t see you as a friend,” Bo Copley told Clinton at a West Virginia campaign rally in April.

Copley confronted Clinton about her anti-coal remarks as protesters chanted “go home” outside a round-table session she was holding in Appalachia. Copley’s not the only one disappointed in Clinton’s coal stance, and coal executives and miners have flocked to Trump.

The West Virginia Coal Association endorsed Trump in March. The group’s president said Trump will “reverse the Democratic regulatory assault that has cost the coal industry more than 40 percent of our production and jobs since 2008.”

Clinton offered an apology to Copley and other protesters outside her West Virginia event, but the damage had been done.

Mayor Serafino Nolletti of Logan, West Virginia even wrote to Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat representing the coal state, that Clinton’s campaign was not welcome to use city properties. Clinton campaign staffers had tried to Logan Fire Department facilities for a campaign event.

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are simply not welcome in our town,” Nolletti wrote to Manchin. “We wish them the best in their campaign, however we again state they are not welcome on our city properties.”

“Mrs. Clinton’s anti-coal messages are the last thing our suffering town needs at this point,” Nolletti wrote. “The policies that have been championed by people like Mrs. Clinton have all but devastated our fair town, and honestly, enough is enough.”

But Clinton is still pushing her $30 billion plan to revitalize coal country. Her campaign has put forward policies to replace coal mine jobs with green energy and technology jobs. She also intends to use legal action to make sure miners keep their pensions and healthcare if the company they work for goes bankrupt.

“Building a 21st century clean energy economy in the United States will create new jobs and industries, deliver important health benefits, and reduce carbon pollution,” according to a Clinton campaign factsheet.

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