Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems to have changed her tune on what America needs to do with coal, the dirtiest form of energy on the planet.
On Monday, the former Secretary of State was asked to defend her position on coal by an allegedly unemployed coal miner named Bo Copley during a round table discussion in West Virginia. Copley asked Clinton, “How you could say you are going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend?”
Copley was referring to remarks Clinton made during a recent town hall debate in Columbus, Ohio. Speaking to a crowd at Ohio State University, Clinton said, “I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Clinton added that it was important not to forget the many coal miners across America “who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”
At the time, it seemed that Clinton was championing a transition to renewable power and a possible means of transitioning coal workers to cleaner jobs. On Monday, however, Clinton walked back that position.
“I don’t know how to explain it other than what I said was totally out of context for what I meant,” she told Copley, “because I have been talking about helping coal country for a very long time. It was a misstatement because what I was saying is the way things are going now, they will continue to lose jobs. …What I said is that is going to happen unless we take action to help and prevent it.”
On Monday, the YouTube channel GOP War Room also uploaded a video of Clinton telling voters, “We’ve got to do a lot more on carbon capture and sequestration to see how we can get coal to be a fuel that can be continued to be sold and continued to be mined.”
That’s a mighty wide swing from advocating the President’s Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 32 percent reduction in national carbon emissions by 2030 and is expected to put some 600 coal plants out of business.
But it’s not the only troubling flip-flop from the candidate.
A History of Flip-Flops on Environmental Issues & Beyond
Imgur user carlcove has created an exhaustively-sourced guide to Secretary Clinton’s most significant political flip-flops over the years:
In 2004, Clinton was adamant that marriage is a “sacred bond between man and woman” until she changed her stance and stumped for marriage equality in 2013.
In 2002, Clinton voted for the Iraq War and defended her position, until she admitted it was a mistake in 2014.
Clinton endorsed the TPP as Secretary of State and has since opposed it as a presidential candidate. The Secretary supported the Cuban Embargo until she didn’t. Clinton was “inclined” to the Keystone XL Pipeline until she opposed it in 2015.
Clinton has also distinguished herself from her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders by being pro-hydraulic fracturing. Recently, however, that position seems to have shifted as well.
The Republican party has even created a list of their own favorite Hillary flip-flops (natch).
There is certainly nothing wrong with a person changing their mind. It’s a characteristic of maturity and growth. But for a person in such a prominent political position, and beholden to so many corporate and political interests, a track record like this starts to look disturbing.
Bernie Sanders has pointed out that Hillary has even flipped on exactly what kind of Democratic candidate she is.
Why Does It Matter What Clinton Thinks of Coal?
Because barring a Trump takeover, Hillary Clinton has a very good chance of becoming the next President of the United States. If she isn’t willing to take a hard stance on coal, in the third-highest polluting nation on the planet, the planet is jolly well screwed.
As Planet Experts’ Nithin Coca reports, “Coal is one of those rare commodities that is dirty and polluting at just about every stage of production, processing and disposal. Mining destroys mountains in Appalachia, and leaves waste in massive dams, which are prone to break… Coal’s transport has been linked to breathing issues… Burning emits not only huge amounts of greenhouse gases but also mercury, sulfur and other harmful pollutants.”