Past time for Kentucky to accept facts about coal
Kentucky’s relationship with coal is a repeat performance of its dance with tobacco. As the rest of the country was tuning tobacco out as the medical evidence of pulmonary and vascular disease causation mounted, Kentucky dug in and continued to promote it, choosing to look the other way until the “feds” forced the issue. The economics of the situation obviously steered the state in a “protectionist” direction but it was still the wrong thing to do.
This delaying action only increased the eventual pain an collateral damage. The state now (finally) promotes smoking cessation.
Kentucky is doing the same thing again; this time with coal, despite the coal “barons’ ” regular use of bankruptcy (and running away with the money) to avoid paying its workers and the mandatory cleaning up of their messes. There is no controversy regarding the harm. Burning coal releases cancer-causing toxins and particulates into the air and the residual ash leaches into the water, clandestinely distributing even more of the same. The carbon dioxide production (POTUS opinion not withstanding) is even more threatening as global average temperatures irrefutably continue to rise.
The state’s current coal position is akin to saying bourbon is good for our financial bottom line, so drink as much as you can and have a good time regardless of your toasted liver and highway fatalities. This stand is indefensible, but it reflects Kentucky’s consistent resistance to change when updated information becomes available. Our state refuses to submit to the facts, isolating our state from most of the country, and setting us up for a very hard fall when the “feds” (and this time the banks) say “no” to coal and its consequences.
In acknowledgement, I suggest we change our (apparently) debonnaire blackout license plate to read “Coal: Keeps the blinders on.” No doubt I will get strong legislative support!