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FOX News Guest: Oil And Coal Are Good For The Environment

Reported by Ellen - July 2, 2008 -

Global warming skeptic Chris Horner, whose ties to the fossil fuel industry were not disclosed by the “We report. You decide” network, made the laughable claim on last night’s (7/1/08) Hannity & Colmes that using oil and coal is good for the environment because they make us wealthier. As Horner said in his snappy little soundbite, “Wealthier is healthier. Healthier is cleaner." With video.

The segment was in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) statement on the FOX Business Network, in which he said, “Coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It’s global warming. It’s ruining our country. It’s ruining our world.” As Think Progress has reported, a YouTube video of his appearance has gone viral and conservatives are hyping it to make Democrats appear out of touch with the need to drill more wells and produce more fuel.

Whenever Horner is on Hannity & Colmes, he always makes a point of making sneering jokes about environmentalists. On last night’s show, Horner characterized alternative energy (which the other guest, Michael Shellenberger, advocated) as “miracle fuels and Jetsons mobiles and pixie dust.”

Alan Colmes said to Horner, “The Center for Disease Control agrees with Harry Reid.” He quoted from their website: “Transportation pollutants are one of the largest contributors to unhealthy air quality. Many of these common air pollutants are respiratory irritants that can aggravate asthma. In addition, recent research findings are beginning to point to a potential link between some air pollutants and the initial onset of certain respiratory conditions.”

Colmes asked, “Is there any question that Harry Reid was accurate when he said that?”

“Let’s just deal with what he said sensibly here,” Horner said. “We know, OK, that pollution has continued to drop steadily for four decades. Asthma has continued to rise. We know that air pollution is not causing the asthma incidences... Fossil fuels don’t make us sick. Fossil fuels make us wealthy. And wealthier is healthier. Wealthier is cleaner.”

Colmes was incredulous. “Coal is good for the environment?”

“In the extent that it creates wealth, yes,” Horner answered. He continued, “The wealthier countries do not despoil the environment. It is the poor countries. You can look that up. What would Nevada be without 90% of its electricity which is by fossil fuels?”

“Are you telling me, Chris, that coal is good for the air and good for the environment? Oil is good for the environment?” Colmes asked.

Yes, he was. “Actually, we are burning things cleaner than ever before. Our air pollutants continue to drop four decades in a row. Bill Clinton’s EPA head trumpeted this when she left office. Did everything suddenly reverse? No, not at all. Wealthier is healthier. Wealthier is cleaner,” Horner said.