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Is Barbour jockeying for campaign funding from energy sector?

By Amy McCullough

Will Barbour use the energy sector to finance his presidential campaign? Sounds like the Associated Press thinks so:

Mississippi governor to talk with coal operators
MS State Wire
Published:Feb. 17, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Potential Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour is expected to speak with Kentucky coal operators on Thursday.

The Mississippi governor would be the first candidate pondering a run in next year’s presidential race to visit Kentucky.

Because Kentucky holds its primary in May, party nominations are all but determined before voters in the state go to the polls. Financially, however, the coal operators could be key in the primary race. With deep pockets, they can help bankroll politicians friendly to their industry.

At this week’s Mississippi Energy Policy Institute meeting in Jackson, Barbour said:
“I think energy is an enormously important subject for Mississippi and for America. … As long as I’m governor of Mississippi, Mississippi has an energy policy. And our policy is more American energy. … I believe … 15 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, companies that are interested in Mississippi when they ask about energy, they aren’t going to ask how much it costs.

“They’re going to ask, Can you get it? We want to be seen as an energy-reliable state. …

“America is the Saudi Arabia of coal. We have multi-hundreds of years of supply and reserves of coal.

“With the new, unconventional drilling capacity that has really come into its own in the last few years, using hydraulic fracturing, we’ve become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

UPDATE:Barbour criticized EPA’s coal oversight

Associated Press

Feb. 18, 2011

LEXINGTON, KY. — Potential Republican presidential candidate Haley Barbour criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for being “out of hand” in its approach to regulating coal.

The Mississippi governor spoke privately to a group of Kentucky coal executives meeting in Lexington, but told The Associated Press afterward that the EPA under the Obama administration is imposing strict environmental standards that mining companies can’t possibly meet.

“It’s a deliberate way to try to halt coal mining, which would be catastrophic for Appalachian America,” he said.

Barbour was the first candidate pondering a run in next year’s presidential race to reach out to Kentucky’s coal operators who have the inclination and the financial resources to help bankroll politicians friendly to their industry.

Most early presidential candidates bypass Kentucky because of its late primary. Nominees for each party usually are all but decided by the time the state’s voters go to the polls in May.

But with corporate spending limits essentially lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, mining companies would be free to spend unlimited amounts of money in the next presidential election.


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About Amy McCullough

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