ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Clinton proposes $30 billion plan to help coal-producing areas

WASHINGTON - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday proposed a $30 billion plan to help displaced workers in coal-producing areas find new jobs and continue receiving health benefits as the country shifts to using rene...

2139603+2015-11-12T160325Z_2_LYNXNPEBAB0XJ_RTROPTP_3_USA-ELECTION-CLINTON.jpg
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage for the Center for Global Business and Government speaker series at Dartmouth College on Nov. 10 in Hanover, N.H. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday proposed a $30 billion plan to help displaced workers in coal-producing areas find new jobs and continue receiving health benefits as the country shifts to using renewable energy and more natural gas.

Clinton’s suite of proposals, which also includes expanding broadband Internet access and establishing a fund that would award competitive grants to small businesses, begins to detail her pledge to protect and build on President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which Republicans have criticized as a “war on coal” that will devastate producing regions.

Clinton, facing pressure from environmental activists and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, has tacked to the left on environmental issues, saying in September she did not support TransCanada's <TRP.TO> proposed Keystone XL pipeline which would link existing networks to let oil flow from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Still, Clinton has said protecting the environment should not come at the expense of the economy and some of her pragmatic positions have drawn criticism from environmentalists. She has said fossil fuel extraction on public lands should be phased out and that she would not oppose lifting a long-standing ban on crude oil exports if it came with tradeoffs for clean energy.

Clinton has said repeatedly she will not forget the coal workers who “kept the lights on” and drove economic growth.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have to move away from coal, everybody understands that, there’s no doubt about it. But that does not and should not mean we move away from coal miners, their families and their communities,” Clinton said this week in New Hampshire.

Sanders, who calls his longtime Keystone opposition a “no brainer,” last week backed a proposal to halt new leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands. He said he too would roll out an economic plan for coal workers in the coming days.

Declining demand for coal and anti-pollution regulations have dented the industry, pushing several companies into insolvency. Clinton last month took aim at two coal companies, Patriot Coal Corp and Peabody Energy Corp, that had sought to discharge their obligations to pay thehealth benefits of their retired mine workers in bankruptcy.

Clinton backs a Democratic proposal in the U.S. Congress that would provide what her campaign called a “federal backstop” for retired mine workers. Clinton would also expand that program to cover retirees of power plans and transportation companies who lose benefits in coal bankruptcies.

Related Topics: CLINTON
What To Read Next
The number of cows going to slaughter is far above the five-year average. Attendees of the annual Cow Calf Days tour in Minnesota heard the latest on cattle trends.
As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.
Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Corn Growers Association were pleased with items in Gov. Tim Walz's "One Minnesota Budget" proposal.