- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Obama administration and its energy policies are hurting Democratic candidate R. Creigh Deeds in the Virginia gubernatorial race, former Sen. George Allen said Tuesday.

The Republican, who is now the chairman of American Energy Freedom Center, a D.C.-based think tank that opposes the administration’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, said the cap-and-trade proposal will increase costs for U.S. coal companies and other domestic energy suppliers and result in higher costs for consumers.

He called the carbon-reduction plan, which faces opposition from Republicans and at least 10 Democratic senators including Virginia’s Jim Webb, a “job killer” and an “attack on coal.”

“Coal means jobs in Southwest Virginia - on our railroads, in our ports and to anybody who uses electricity,” Mr. Allen told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show.

The cap-and-trade proposal requires polluters to either reduce their emissions or offset their pollutants by paying others to reduce their emissions.

If Congress moves forward with the legislation, Mr. Allen said, “it will make our country less competitive for investment in jobs. It is clearly going to harm families.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell has worked to make the Obama administration’s energy policies an issue in the campaign, pressing Mr. Deeds to discuss cap-and-trade and other national issues at the candidates’ first debate last month.

Mr. Deeds has been vague about his position on legislation to cut carbon emissions, insisting he is running for governor and not for Congress. His energy plan says he supports implementation of cleaner-coal technology.

Mr. Allen, 57, said policies Mr. McDonnell is advocating to protect the state’s coal industry and pursue offshore drilling will help win votes among independents.

Mr. Deeds is trailing Mr. McDonnell 51 percent to 37 percent, according to a poll conducted earlier this month by the nonpartisan Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling.

Mr. Allen said Mr. Deeds is also feeling the burden of the Obama administration’s unprecedented federal spending and the president’s proposal for a government-run health care system.

During the conversation with “America’s Morning News,” Mr. Allen discussed Gov. Tim Kaine’s role as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and whether the position is distracting Mr. Kaine from his duties as governor, a position Mr. Allen held from 1994 to 1998.

“Let’s just say, it makes it exceedingly difficult to be concentrating all your energy and efforts, especially with the budget situation in Virginia, to be doing two jobs that are both very time consuming,” Mr. Allen said.

And as to whether he would run for public office again, Mr. Allen hedged and said it was not in his family’s plans for now.

“We’re still involved, even though my name is not necessarily on the ticket,” he said. “We’re still in there working for the team and our principles.”

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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