A recent article published in the Louisville Courier-Journal titled “Stand Against Mountaintop Removal,” should be commended for the passion and concern displayed by its three co-authors – all sophomores in high school. These students are right to be concerned for the energy and environmental future of a state as beautiful and rich in natural resources as Kentucky, especially when the air quality of our most populated city consistently ranks at the bottom of the nation.
Unfortunately for these students and future leaders of the Bluegrass State, there’s a lot more to be concerned about in Kentucky than just our creeks, mountaintops, and aquatic wildlife. Kentuckians must also worry about this delicate balancing act: what happens when honest efforts to protect Kentucky’s natural habitats end up costing its citizens dearly, and how do we avoid such a road to calamity – a road paved by good intentions?
In recent months, the Environmental Protection Agency has provided a perfectly horrifying example of what can happen when no balance is struck – or even attempted.
Acting in the name of extreme environmentalism – i.e., without reasonable concern for the substantial costs of their eco-friendly edicts – the EPA has unilaterally imposed crippling mandates on coal-fired utility plants and threatened to choke the economic vitality out of Kentucky’s energy sector.
In fact, the EPA’s stance regarding Appalachian coal has become so manically unbalanced that EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz actually had to resign this week for his admission of the EPA’s strategy for enforcing its mandates against local dissenters:
“It [is] kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
Armendariz went on to say, “you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law … and you hit them as hard as you can” — to act as a “deterrent” to others.
This is the same kind of balance we’d find if a 300 pound football player were to play seesaw with a ten year old.