Romney tours Colorado coal country

US PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Mitt Romney blasted the Obama energy policy yesterday during a tour of western Colorado’s booming coal country.
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Mitt Romney

Justin Niessner

At a whistle-stop in the town of Craig, the Republican decried the president’s resistance to promote coal mining but reportedly failed to pique emotion from the community which has enjoyed a thriving coal industry.

“He’s made it harder to get coal out of the ground, he’s made it harder to get natural gas out of the ground, he’s made it harder to get oil out of the ground,” Romney said of the president’s energy program.

“I’m not going to forget about Craig, Colorado,” he told the assembly. “I’m not going to forget communities like this across the country that are hurting right now under this president.”

According to media analysis, however, coal towns like Craig may be among the least conducive places for riling up anger about energy-based economic woes.

In November 2011, the Denver Post reported coal production in Colorado and Utah rose 25% in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier.

In its coverage of the Craig campaign stop, National Journal noted local residents felt the economic situation was largely positive and that coal mines were hiring, not firing.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity reacted to Romney’s statements by supporting the deregulation of Environmental Protection Agency policies enacted under the Obama Administration.

“The EPA is using expensive and heavy-handed regulations to regulate coal out of existence in America,” ACCCE senior vice president Evan Tracey said in a prepared statement.

“We are glad that Governor Romney is acknowledging the important role that coal plays in our economy, and we urge President Obama to reconsider these over-reaching EPA rules.”

Romney lashed out on EPA restrictions on coal extraction by describing the rules as a policy that unfairly burdens the country with an international problem.

“I know there are some who are very concerned about carbon dioxide emissions, so-called greenhouse gases, and they feel that these sources are going to be contributing to global warming,” he said.

“But you know, they call it global warming, not America warming, and the idea of America unilaterally saying we’re not going to take advantage of these abundant energy resources, it would put us in at an enormous economic disadvantage relative to other countries.”

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