This letter was published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on June 15, 2013.
Kentuckians are proud to live in a commonwealth rich in tradition and resources. However, I find it disconcerting that while we take pride in basketball, horses and bourbon, we often fail to take pride in state sovereignty.
When it comes to Kentuckians governing themselves, why do we seem content to sit on the sidelines and take orders from unelected bureaucrats spewing unilateral regulations from hundreds of miles away?
Why, for instance, do Kentuckians allow federal Environmental Protect Agency officials to dictate terms and conditions for how Kentucky utilizes coal, our state’s primary natural gift?
The EPA employs two primary tactics to hinder producers from providing jobs and low-cost energy.
First, it has stalled the permitting process for mine openings and expansions, causing uncertainty among investors, owners and miners. Second, the agency now requires expensive retrofits for coal-fired power plants that don’t even come close to offering sufficient economic benefits compared to the costs incurred.
Given the fact that Kentucky is a poor state in a struggling global economy, why are Washington bureaucrats allowed to strangle an industry that provides 93 percent of the commonwealth’s electricity and attracts energy-intensive industries — and the multitude of jobs they create — to the Bluegrass state?
The virtues and pitfalls of coal will always be debated. But one thing is certain: decisions about Kentucky’s resources should be made by those most affected — Kentuckians.
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions