With residents of eastern Kentucky coalfields facing layoffs and a decrease in coal production, they now have yet another obstacle in their way – and it’s being brought on them by some of their very own.
Environmental groups like the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, collectively called the Coal River Mountain Watch, plan to file suit this month against the U.S. Department of the Interior for allegedly failing to take sufficient action against mountaintop removal mining – as if the feds haven’t gotten involved in Kentucky’s energy sector enough.
These radical anti-coal coalitions argue that the current administration’s horde of mid-Atlantic bureaucrats haven’t done enough to protect Kentucky’s wildlife at the expense of the human beings who live among it. That’s a fishy argument seeing as how the past four years have seen an Environmental Protection Agency on steroids, attempting to enforce one unilateral mandate after another.
During her tenure in office, recently retired EPA czar Lisa Jackson issued 1,824 rules – thirteen times more than the Departments of Energy and Labor combined – including twenty “major rules” which cost more than $7 billion in initial compliance and $44.86 billion annually. These costs don’t even scratch the surface for how Kentuckians are being negatively affected as one unintended consequence after another is likely to result in jacked up energy rates, a loss of direct investment in the commonwealth, and continued layoffs.
The answer to the complicated issues associated with Kentucky coal and coal-fired power plants isn’t going to be found with federal bureaucrats forcing one-size-fits-all edicts on the states. No one is more interested or has more man-on-the-spot knowledge to handle Kentucky’s pollution externalities than Kentucky citizens and their elected officials.
It’s a shame the Kentuckians in the Coal River Mountain Watch don’t get it – because they’re hurting their very own.