When it comes to state sovereignty over a state’s energy sector, neighboring West Virginia has been on a roll this month.
In February alone, three bills have already been filed – HB 2214, HB 2535, and SB 56 – that would protect West Virginia coal from the ever-encroaching fist of the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s three more than Kentucky has filed this session.
All three bills nearly identically mirror a piece of model legislation that the Bluegrass Institute sponsored and succeeded in passing through the American Legislative Exchange Council’s task force on energy and the environment last fall. The piece of legislation is called the Intrastate Coal and Use Act, and would assert the rights granted to the state in the 9th and 10th Amendments in no uncertain terms: that any coal mined, sold, and used exclusively within the borders of a state is under the jurisdiction of the state’s department of energy – not mid-Atlantic bureaucrats at the EPA.
Contrary to what radical greenies would have you believe, the purpose of the bill is not to allow utility companies to spew pollutants over neighboring land whenever convenient, but to make sure those enforcing regulations on a state’s energy sector are the people most knowledgeable and interested about local conditions to properly weigh the complicated costs and benefits of the energy source: the local citizens. The EPA has shown time and again that they they lack this sort of man-on-the-spot knowledge and political will to efficiently regulate coal by unilaterally establishing regulations like the Cross-State Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards which is set to cost taxpayers $10 billion per year.
Kentucky’s elected officials should take the lead from West Virginia and file an Intrastate Coal and Use Act of their own.