Despite the American Legislative Exchange Council passing the Bluegrass Institute-sponsored Intrastate Coal and Use Act, there are still some who believe the current administration’s stubborn quest to rid Kentucky coal of its economic vitality is a war in rhetoric only. Even some from great free market organizations like the Cato Institute – headquartered in Washington, D.C. – have voiced such opinions.
William Yeatman from globalwarming.org – whose tagline is “May cooler heads prevail” – recently posted an article spelling out this exact point. According to Yeatman, the proof of the EPA’s “war on coal” is in the pudding. Just take a look at any of the new regulations the EPA has enacted in the past two years for conclusive evidence that the latest of the federal government’s wars is alarming real.
The newest of the EPA’s unilateral mandates directly harms real people, real jobs, and real industries in Appalachia – and for what? Well, the EPA claims the benefits of their most costly new regulation, the Utility MACT rule, for example, is to mitigate mercury pollution in Appalachian waterways which may decrease newborns’ IQs by a fraction of a percent. Or as Yeatman puts it, the alleged benefit of such a regulation is to “to protect a supposed population of pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen, who consume at least 225 pounds of self-caught fish from exclusively the 90th percentile most polluted fresh, inland water bodies.”
Is this ludicrous benefit really what the EPA is after, or is there more political gamesmanship going on than Lisa Jackson and her band of bureaucratic bullies are willing to admit? Kentucky can’t afford to play such games when 93% of our electricity is generated by Kentucky coal – the commonwealth’s most valuable natural resource.
Yeatman sums it up perfectly:
We’re in terra incognita. There’s no precedent. Without a Congressional mandate, the executive has taken it upon itself to seek out and destroy an industry. In so doing, agencies are seeking out novel powers pursuant to existing statutes. To me, as a free marketeer, it’s outrageous that the fate of an entire economic sector can hang in the balance of a Presidential race. It should go without saying that the shifting sands of politics are an unsuitable foundation for wealth creation in America.