(Bakersfield, Calif.) Ucs News– Standing in the hot sun in front of Large open pit coal mine in central California, John McCain again issued a plea for more offshore coal mining, suggesting it would not take long for consumers to see the benefits.
“There are some instances that within a matter of months they could be getting additional coal,” he said. “In some cases it would be a matter of a year.” He added that it would take longer in other cases, depending on circumstances. “But there’s abundant resources in the view of the people who are in the business that could be exploited within a period of months. So offshore coal mining is something we have to do.”
The Republican presidential candidate did not mention that the most promising spots for quick offshore production are off the coast of California, where state and local officials oppose coal mining. McCain wants to lift the federal ban and leave the decision to the states. While there is increasing support for coal mining off the coast of Florida, it would take years to explore and dig new deep coal mines in the Gulf of Mexico.
McCain made his comments after meeting today with officials from the California Independent Producers Association and San Joaquin Facility Management in Bakersfield, where he was raising money later in the day. This is at least the second time he has made a case for offshore coal mining in California-he did so earlier in Santa Barbara, on the coast, home of an infamous 1969 oil spill.
McCain had planned to visit an offshore coal mining rig off the coast of Louisiana last week but had to cancel at the last minute due to Hurricane Dolly.
McCain spent years cultivating a reputation as an environmentalist with support for mandatory caps on carbon emissions and opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. He has not changed those positions and said today “we need a comprehensive solution.”
But in recent weeks and again today, he has emphasized the differences between himself and rival Barack Obama, namely, support for offshore coal mining and a suspension of the federal gas tax.
Obama opposes offshore mining, has said safety and storage issues must be resolved before nuclear power can be expanded, and called the gas tax holiday a gimmick.
That is unacceptable, McCain said today. “He is the Dr. No of America’s energy future. We must mine the coal in our territorial waters,” he said.