- The Lexington Herald-Leader thinks that the recent General Assembly budget negotiations were open and transparent. We disagree here and here.
- It appears an effort to further limit the amount of certain cold medicines Kentucky citizens can buy is moving forward.
- We posed this question on our Facebook page: Does one camera in a budget committee hearing establish transparency? Stop by and lend your thoughts!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Regulatory Impact Analysis, the sweeping new mandates forcing unprecedented carbon emission standards on coal-fired power plants will have a completely benign effect on states like Kentucky, which relies on coal for well over 90% of its electricity needs.
The EPA projects “that the industry will choose to construct new units that already meet these [carbon emission] standards, regardless of this proposal. As a result, EPA anticipates that the proposed [carbon emission mandate] will result in negligible CO2 emission changes, energy impacts, or costs for new units constructed by 2020. Likewise, the Agency does not anticipate any notable impacts on the price of electricity or energy supplies.”
Oh really? The EPA’s most recent paternalistic idea to save the infantile states from themselves will have zero effect on – well, anything? What’s the point of having these mandates handed down from on high by the wise and impartial bureaucrats at the EPA if their consequences are exactly zilch?
Other groups disagree with the EPA’s self-assessment of its new proposals. According to the Institute for Energy Research, “The United States has the largest coal reserves of any country in the world with 486 billion short tons of technically recoverable resources. States like Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Montana lead the nation in producing this valuable resource for affordable electricity. If the EPA’s new rules are finalized, entire industries across the United States will be pushed out of business — and jobs with them.”
Much more likely is that the EPA’s analysis is meant to distract from the fact that mid-Atlantic bureaucrats, hostile to the benefits that cheap energy sources like coal provide to the entire Appalachian region, are once again unilaterally encroaching on state energy sovereignty through the threat of federal sanctions.
Few Kentuckians are likely to buy the EPA’s story that their newest encroachments merely reflect the natural tide of voluntary market forces. This reeks of government coercion and market interventionism as special interests in D.C. again try to pick the winners and losers for an entire sector of the economy.
Nice try, EPA, but we’re not buying what you’re trying to sell.
- The Mercatus Center published some very telling data about health care spending trends in the United States. These graphs do a fantastic job of visualizing these trends. You could draw a lot of questions from this data…
- We asked a question about how Kentuckians feel about the recent General Assembly budget process. Feel free to visit our Facebook page and weigh in on the discussion.
- A recent op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader takes aim at an editorial attacking the tobacco industry. I also recently submitted a letter to the editor after that editorial was published expressing my disbelief in the lack of professionalism displayed by the newspaper.
It looks like the situation in some big city public schools is getting so critical that even city mayors from the Democratic Party are breaking away from the teachers unions to challenge “teachers unions in ways that seemed inconceivable just a decade ago.”
That’s the story in the Washington Post, which says Democrat mayors in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Newark and Boston are among those breaking new ground in long-standing relationships with the teachers unions.
One target in the mayors’ sights: tenure rules that make it impossible to motivate or discharge teachers who are not doing a good job in the classroom.
It also appears that while the national union leadership is starting to understand the need for changes, union locals are not following national direction and often remain far more militant in their demands to maintain the status quo.
There is also interesting information about a public cooling towards teachers unions. In 2011 nearly half the respondents to a Gallup poll (47 percent) said that teachers unions hurt the quality of education while only 26 percent said the unions helped. The proportion unfavorable to teachers is at an all-time high.
Read more about this amazing development in a long-time Democratic Party tradition here.
“Kentucky is the No. 1 producer of aluminum in the United States, contributing $3.5 billion to the economy. It’s every bit a signature industry … like bourbon, thoroughbred horses and coal in terms of the kind of impact it has.” –Mike Baker, former director of the Kentucky Aluminum Network, quoted in today’s Bowling Green Daily News
With the Environmental Protection Agency’s newest onslaught against Appalachian energy providers, now is the time for Kentucky legislators to consider sending a loud and clear message to the power hungry bureaucrats in Washington D.C.
The fact that nearly one-third of all coal mined in Kentucky remains within the borders of the Bluegrass State provides the appropriate kind of messenger.
If Kentucky legislators are serious about protecting the economic vitality of the Commonwealth’s most prized natural resource and the affordable energy rates Kentuckians have enjoyed for decades, legislators must consider a bill that reinforces the rights provided to the Bluegrass State and its citizens by the 9th and 10th Amendments – a bill that boldly proclaims that all commerce taking place exclusively within the borders of Kentucky is under the jurisdiction of Kentucky legislators, not the EPA.
The implications of reinforcing such constitutionally provided rights would be huge for Kentucky. For one-third of Kentucky coal country, the EPA would no longer be able to drive up energy rates, deny new work permits, stifle Appalachian job creation, and threaten the 18,000 coal miner jobs currently on the books. One-third of Kentucky coal country would be regulated exclusively by the Commonwealth, whose government the EPA recently named a 2012 Energy Star Partner of the Year. It seems even the EPA recognizes that Kentucky can take care of its own energy and environmental needs without the lumbering fist of the mid-Atlantic bureaucrats.
Kentucky legislators need to protect the sovereignty of Kentucky’s energy sector, and a bold message of local governance and strict adherence to the US Constitution would do just that.