With the recent attacks of the Environmental Protection Agency against Kentucky coal, there was a bit of refreshing news out of Frankfurt this week. Governor Beshear announced that the state has issued 50,000 “Friends of Coal” license plates in under three years, a welcome reminder of the level of support Kentuckians show for the black rock – and how important coal is to the economic vitality of Kentucky:
“Coal mining, as I’ve said many times before, is one of the cornerstones of Kentucky’s economy,” said Governor Beshear. “There’s no doubt that Kentucky coal keeps this state’s economy strong and also keeps this nation’s economy running.”
Kentucky Coal Association president, Bill Bissett, was also present at the press conference and tried to explain why Kentucky coal has received such support from citizens of the commonwealth:
“I think people do it for a number of reasons. Some do it because we work in coal. Some do it because they have family members who work in the coal industry. Some do it, I think, because they’re from the coalfields or previously from the coalfields and have that cultural connection to coal.”
Others support coal because of the economic realities that coal has created tens of thousands of jobs, provided Kentuckians with some of the cheapest energy in the nation for decades, and attracted business from industries such as aluminum, steel, and automotive. The economic benefits of Kentucky’s most prized natural resource should not be taken for granted as the EPA continues to test the sovereignty of the commonwealth.
50,000 plates show that Kentuckians agree.