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The crowd that traveled to recent public hearings in Frankfort and Pikeville for showdowns with the visiting Environmental Protection Agency overwhelmingly supported the home-team coal miners.
The home team was determined to resist the EPA’s assault on coal and Kentuckians’ right to mine it. They aimed their “pitches” specifically at an injustice perpetrated two years ago when the EPA unilaterally rejected 36 state-approved coal-mining permits and threatened more than 70,000 industry jobs.
Like Cy Young fastballs, the impassioned crowd threw argument after argument at the EPA’s sweeping new mandates.
EPA sympathizers had no defense when asked to explain why the agency’s absurd water quality standards for Kentucky “wetlands” – which even include “intermittent streams” in Appalachian coal country – are more stringent than standards for human drinking water.
While any objective spectator would have called the match-up in favor of the home team, the thousands of concerned Kentuckians who showed up to demonstrate their intention to protect Kentucky’s right to control its own energy sector may turn out to be overkill. The EPA’s environmental czars are doing one heck of a job striking themselves right out of the game.
Little by little, top officials within the current administration are letting slip their intentions to wage war against coal. It’s become painfully obvious that all of Appalachia – including Eastern Kentucky – really is being singled out in hopes that its very way of life would “just go away.”
The evidence does not come from complicated third-party calculations, but straight from the donkey’s mouth:
Strike One: Jan. 17, 2008
Then-candidate Barack Obama took swings at Kentucky’s most prized natural resource even during baseball’s off-season. During his presidential campaign interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama explicitly called for regulations that would bankrupt Appalachian coal country: “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Strike Two: May 10, 2010
Al Armendariz, who recently resigned as Region 6 EPA administrator, speaking at a city council meeting in Dish, Texas, compares the EPA’s strategy for taking down our energy sector to the ancient Romans’ tactic of sacking Turkish dissenters via random crucifixion: “It was 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 … 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 send a message intended as a “deterrent” to others.
Strike Three: March 30, 2012
Curt Spalding, EPA Region 1 administrator, admits to a Yale University forum that head administrator Lisa Jackson, high priestess of the EPA’s fundamentalist campaign to snuff out Kentucky coal, realizes that these newest regulations would be “painful every step of the way” for communities that depend on coal: “Lisa Jackson has put forth a very powerful message to the country … if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.”
How many more outrageous testimonies from these faked-out (ask a baseball connoisseur) social engineers do we need before we remove them from the game, sit them on the bench and give this amazingly resilient economy the opportunity to return to full vitality?
At least with their back ends riding the pine, these bureaucrats wouldn’t be able to eradicate the way of life for entire communities in Kentucky and Appalachia.
Jim Waters is president of the Bluegrass Institute. Reach him at jwaters@ freedomkentucky.com.