Last week, Gov. Beshear made a rare move (at least for him) in opposition of the current administration. In a letter sent to EPA administrator Bob Perciaspe, Beshear chastised the EPA’s efforts to virtually ensure the demise of Kentucky’s energy sector:
“Our ability to continue growing our economy depends on affordable, reliable power—and this can only be guaranteed if our nation truly has a diversified portfolio that includes coal. Asking some states to dramatically alter their potential sources of fuel for generating electricity puts their citizens at a distinct economic disadvantage. However, by allowing the electric sector to employ advanced technologies, combined with state and federal research and development efforts targeted toward newer, cleaner coal-fired power generation, the nation as a whole wins.”
Beshear’s complaint was in response to the EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations – regulations which were supposed to be finalized in April but have been delayed due to many understandably disgruntled coal industry and state officials. Such a climate of regulatory uncertainty isn’t just bad for those in coal country; it’s bad for Kentuckians all across the commonwealth who rely on coal for 93% of their electricity; it’s bad for energy-intensive businesses that rely on Kentucky’s cheap energy rates to stay profitable; and it’s bad for the thousands of jobs created as a result of these business’ investment dollars.
But, as blog title suggests, greenhouse gas regulations aren’t the only way the EPA is putting the boots to coal country. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that since 2009, the EPA’s has refused to defend itself in lawsuits brought against it no less than 60 times.
So what explains such strange bureaucratic masochism? The answer is called “sue and settle,” the process by which environmental groups sue the EPA for failing to meet this or that environmental regulation, but not before the two parties come up with a preconceived plan to settle. The settlement “forces” the EPA to adopt new regulatory standards and allows them to come down hard on politically unpopular industries. This process – taking place completely outside the jurisdiction of our elected officials – is directly responsible for the EPA enacting more than 100 additional barriers to doing business in Kentucky.
What will those devious bureaucrats at the EPA think of next in an attempt to snuff out Kentucky’s energy sector?