"We Need To Stand Up For Coal Country" Says Noted Hillary Clinton Supporter


North Dakota Senator elect Heidi Heitkamp (right) reacts to seeing her sister Thomasine Heitkamp at a rally Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 in Grand Forks, N.D. The two sisters hadn't seen each other since Heidi had won election to the U.S. Senate.JOHN STENNES

Back in March Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said her policies would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

That comment has come to haunt Clinton. In West Virginia it lost her the backing of an influential organization of coal miners.

But Clinton doesn’t seem to have lost the support of North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who has backed her campaign for the presidency since 2013. Which is ironic given that Heitkamp was in North Dakota’s newspapers over the weekend with an op/ed saying “We need to stand up for coal country.”

In the piece Heitkamp gripes about federal policies – such as the moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands and new emissions regulations – which Hillary Clinton has specifically embraced.

I’ve pointed out before the dicotomy between Heitkamp’s stated positions on fossil fuel energy development, and those of her preferred presidential candidate, but it bears repeating.

Why is Senator Heitkamp intent on helping elect a president she would then have to fight to protect some of North Dakota’s most important industries, like energy and agriculture?

The usual response to this from Heitkamp supporters is to say that Heitkamp doesn’t have to agree with every single position Clinton takes. And that’s true, but are there issues more important to North Dakota than the economic impacts of energy and agriculture?

Also, Heitkamp doesn’t necessarily have to endorse anyone for president. But she has endorsed, and it’s someone whose policies would be pretty terrible for our state. I think Heitkamp should be held accountable for that.