Mitt Romney was on the attack today in Ohio, berating Barack Obama for his "war on coal." It's part of a strategy that says Obama's energy policies have cost jobs and raised prices. The video clip above is from his energy stump speech in Beallsville, an Appalachian village in the far eastern part of Ohio that is home to the American Century coal mine. Median household income in the village is half the national average. What those photogenic coal miners standing behind him are unlikely aware of is another Romney flip-flop, as reported by Brian Montopoli at CBS:
Romney now opposes strong regulation of the coal industry and argues that carbon emissions should not be subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. As Massachusetts governor, however, he lauded carbon emission limits and at one point stood outside a coal plant and said, "I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people." He also backed a regional cap-and-trade system, which would reduce carbon pollution by imposing caps on emissions and allowing companies to buy and sell pollution permits, before backing off of that position.But that was then and now is now. These days, it's advantageous to ride around with operators like Bob Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy Corp., which owns the American Century Mine, praising him for being a "great boss," to which the assembled miners dutifully applauded.
Besides American Century, Murray's company, the largest independent coal operator in the country, also owns, via a subsidiary, the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah. Five years ago this month, six miners and three rescue workers were killed in that mine. Murray showed his true colors with his belligerent behavior after the accident. The Mine Safety and Health Administration fined the operation more than $1.85 million for violations that it says directly contributed to the deaths. Murray had said the violations were trivial and lied about one of the them, withholding information from the federal government about a dangerous mining technique the company decided to use to meet its coal quota just before the lethal collapse.
Murray has lobbied against new safety regulations, arguing that these are "playing politics with the safety of my employees." And, icing for this cake, he's a climate change denier, having said in Senate testimony that "The science of global warming is suspect. [...] Reducing carbon emissions will impact our poorest families worst. All you are doing with this Draconian legislation is destroying American families' standard of living, their ability to have jobs, and export jobs to China."
That seems a perfect fit for the views of presidential candidate Mitt Romney as opposed to those of Gov. Mitt Romney. The guy switches opinions as often as he switches from khakis to jeans.