While a central promise of President Donald Trump’s campaign is coming to fruition in the construction of a barrier addressing illegal immigration along America’s porous border with Mexico, it was inspiring to join the commander in chief Monday as he promoted tearing down imaginary walls between strong economies and safe environments.

In doing so, he denies Green New Deal promoters the traction they need to advance their radical ideas, which can only succeed by denying reality – both in terms of what’s currently happening with our environment and economy as well as how their policies would have us all living in tents with bicycles being our primary mode of transportation.

Add to this the American Enterprise Institute’s research indicating the Green New Deal would cost each household in this nation nearly $4,000 annually, and you have an offer that Americans – and especially Kentuckians – should refuse.

Among the most entertaining segments of the recent Democratic presidential debates was the dance performed by political leftists running for president as they tried, but failed, to convince us that America’s economy benefits only the “1 percenters.”

It appears they’re mathematically challenged, considering unemployment is at the lowest rate in half a century and 160 million Americans are now working – more than at any time in history.

As the 1 percent argument flops, these big-government progressives are forced to scurry around in search of some other way to bash this nation’s environmental record while still appearing relevant.

One successful tactic from the past is to spin a narrative suggesting the only way for a nation to succeed economically is to trash its land, air and water.

Therefore, if the economy is roaring, the environment must be suffering.

Trump took a sledgehammer to that contention in the East Room on Monday by not only noting how America has set a global example when it comes to protecting the environment while growing its economy, but also by articulating a strong claim that economic strength is a vital prerequisite for environmental health.

He noted, for example, that all signatories of the Paris Climate Accord, which the U.S. withdrew from, lag behind our country in reducing emissions.

“When we innovate, produce and grow, we’re able to unleash technologies and processes that make the environment better,” he said.

Such an aspirational approach is out in front of fossil-fuel haters, who shallowly discount the potential that innovation in the private sector, which is being powered by new cleaning technology, can have on both energy production and environmental protection and improvement.

For example, Arq, a British company, is constructing a facility on an old U.S. Steel coal-preparation plant in Corbin, where it plans to go online by January, producing a substance using coal sludge that can be blended with oil to lower production costs while yielding a product that’s cleaner yet acts like black gold in terms of the energy it provides.

It will have only a minuscule amount of sulfur after an intense repeated process used to remove pollutants and turn coal waste into usable fuel that can actually be embedded into barrels of oil, making it go further and burn cleaner.

Where in the world are government-dictated energy policies resulting in the kind of research that redeems what was previously considered good-for-nothing waste to produce years’ worth of additional energy supplies, all while reclaiming a facility that had been out of use for years?

Such progress is made possible by a combination of limited government taking an all-the-above approach on energy policy that excludes no viable source plus the genius of a new kind of environmental entrepreneurism displayed by a private sector that never imagined – nor accepted – the either-or scheme propagated by the political left.

– Jim Waters is president and CEO of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Read previous columns at www.bipps.org. He can be reached at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com.

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