Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Lesson To Ralph Stanley

I was broken-hearted when I saw this ad for the first time in the Fall of 2008. A regional legend by the name of Ralph Stanley, bluegrass hero to millions of us from the Appalachian Mountains and beyond, actually endorsed Obama for president. If you know anything about the coal-mining territory in those mountains, it isn't surprising to learn that Democrat politics appeal to these poverty-stricken communities.

Despite living a rugged agrarian life in rocky terrain, forced to supplant their meager incomes by raising their own livestock, growing their own corn, and even by selling moonshine, many of these folks secretly yearn for any kind of government relief in whatever form it might take: a welfare check, food stamps, etc.

For those of us who have looked out past the horizon, though, we know that relying on government handouts is the road to ruin. The same politician who says, "I feel your pain", and offers no more than a 16 dollar increase in annual welfare payments to a family of four is also the same politician who wants to destroy your coal mining jobs.

When a misguided Ralph Stanley sits here and says, "I think I know a little something about the families of Southwest Virginia,...and we need a change from the past 8 years", I sadly shake my head and say, "Ralph, Ralph, Ralph. I hardly knew ya'. Don't you know that you're getting in bed with the devil?"

Coal Regs Would Kill Jobs, Boost Energy Bills

By Paul Bedard

Posted: June 8, 2011

Two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data.

Overall, the rules aimed at making the air cleaner could cost the coal-fired power plant industry $180 billion, warns a trade group.

“Many of these severe impacts would hit families living in states already facing serious economic challenges,” said Steve Miller, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “Because of these impacts, EPA should make major changes to the proposed regulations before they are finalized,” he said.

The EPA, however, tells Whispers that the hit the industry will suffer is worth the health benefits. “EPA has taken a number of sensible steps to protect public health, while also working with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that these important Clean Air Act standards—such as the first ever national Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal-fired power plants—are reasonable, common-sense, and achievable,” said spokesman Brendan Gilfillan. [Read Rep. Darrell Issa: Obama's Bad Policy, Harmful Regulations Add to Gas Prices.]

What’s more, officials said that just one of the rules to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will would yield up to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits in 2014. They say that amounts to preventing up to 36,000 premature deaths, 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma. “This far outweighs the estimated annual costs,” says an official on background.

Still, the EPA did note that the two new antipollution rules are “pending” and that the agency has “accepted and are considering feedback” from the industry.

The industry says the costs and potential to lose four jobs for every new clean energy job created isn’t worth the rules, especially in a job-starved economy.

Referring to the analysis of the EPA regulations from National Economic Research Associates, Miller said they would be the most expensive rules ever imposed on power plants.

Coal-fired energy plants currently fuel about half of the nation’s energy supply.(source)

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