EPA Announcement and Kentucky

KENTUCKY1-articleLargeToday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new regulations that would cut U.S. carbon emissions from power plants by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. And this would mainly target the 600 coal-fired power plants that exist today, closing hundreds in favor of new, less-polluting energy sources.

Since STL is headquartered in the Bluegrass State, we know that coal is an essential part of our economy as implied by Democratic Senate Candidate Ms. Alison Lundergan Grimes today in Covington, KY. As the NYT reports:

On Monday, Ms. Grimes pledged to “fiercely oppose the president’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry” if elected.

Running against Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, in a fierce battle for votes, even a Democrat is coming out against the EPA’s announcement today for the supposed “war on coal” is such an important issue here.

So this whole issue has me  pondering a complex question: what would become of Appalachia if these cuts go through?

Eastern Kentucky is one of the poorest regions of the U.S. and there only reliable industry is coal mining. So what should be done about these people barring significant and costly social programs that have been failing the area for decades. I am all for the protection of the environment at almost all costs due to the gravity of the situation, but I am also concerned about the poorest people of the Commonwealth.

So I am making a call to all those who read/follow this blog to comment on how this conundrum can be solved. What do you say?

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The Danger of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

We learned yesterday the controversial Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, used his snubbing of the federal government as a prop in his comic routine in order to get a laugh and delight his enthralled listeners.  I’ll bet Carrot Top never thought of that one.

Clearly, the sheriff is a person who has very little appreciation for American history and is unaware of the danger of his actions.  Arpaio has done plenty to garner the wrath of people scolding him for his ways, particularly toward immigration, but this could be one of his worst actions.  A state government employee thumbing his nose at the federal government and saying he is above them is a bit reminiscent of governors during the Civil Rights Era saying they would continue to enforce segregationist policies regardless of the orders handed down from Washington.  (Amazing how racism continues to be the reason for this type of situation.)

A state government employee trying to stand up to the federal government is not an oddity and has been used often to gain a political point.  In my home state, Governor Steve Beshear (D) has often spoken out against the EPA in the interest of the well funded coal industry (ignoring the interest of the environment and the people who live in it, also know as his constituents).  It happens but is usually done in a way that appears to be reasoned debate with a knowledge of which entity still overrides the other when the smoke clears.

That, however, is not what Arpaio is doing.  He is ridiculing and doing it in a way that seems to suggest state employees should do as they please regardless of what the federal government says.  This is where the sheriff needs a history lesson because we’ve been there before.  It was called the Articles of Confederation, the original form of government taken in the United States prior to the writing of the Constitution.  It lasted eight years, was clearly failing, and was replaced with a stronger federal government by the Founding Fathers.  Even those great thinkers knew states running themselves with little to no oversight by a central government would never last and would be a disaster in the long run.

Arpaio making a joke about this relationship to the cheers of a crowd of Americans is disturbing.  That type of discourse plants the seed of the federal government coming in second to each states’ wishes which makes more people want to push legislation that breaks the hold of the federal government on the states.  This simply gets us one step closer to what the Founding Fathers themselves knew wouldn’t work.  In this case, it is clearly the sheriff who is not seeing the forest for the trees.

If Arpaio was a true patriot, he would respectfully disagree with the federal government, not ridicule it.  And since he is a state government employee, his ridicule shows just how unpatriotic the man truly is.