Kentucky voices

Rand Paul: Obama climate policy declares war on coal, us

July 10, 2013 

Rand Paul is Kentucky's junior senator.

There is now broad consensus, backed by irrefutable evidence: The Obama administration is hell-bent on ignoring the priorities of the American people — the economy and jobs — and is, instead, pushing its own pet, liberal causes.

Exhibit A: The Obama administration's self-described war on coal.

An advisor to President Barack Obama told the New York Times: "The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants ... a war on coal is exactly what's needed."

At least they are being upfront and honest for a change.

What does Obama's plan mean for Kentucky?

More of our coal miners will be put out of work. Our electricity bills will rise sharply. Our low-cost electricity advantage will be thrown out the window. Kentucky's manufacturers will flee the state.

So, Obama's war on coal is really a war on us.

And the president is taking this action unilaterally. His plan, of course, is designed to get around Congress and the American people. He knows his ideas don't have a chance when put to a vote.

None of this should surprise us. It was Obama who told us back in 2008 when he was running for president that his plan was for electricity rates to skyrocket. And this is just his latest maneuver — it comes on top of bureaucratic regulations, corporate subsidies and excessive taxation that have sought to topple coal and other energy industries.

All of this is deeply frustrating for Kentuckians. The economy is, at best, in tepid shape. At last measure, the unemployment rate in Kentucky was 8.1 percent. And the punch in the gut: the president's plan comes at a time when even the scientists who agree on global warming say that the rate has slowed down for the past 15 years and counting.

Here is what I am a skeptic of: a future devoid of abundant, affordable and reliable energy.

The bottom line: Coal is an ample and cheap form of energy. It is a major economic driver for Kentucky and our country. We should continue to get it out of the ground safely and use it in the most efficient way we can.

That doesn't mean that other forms of energy production should be discouraged. It means that instead of talking about the government putting coal out of business, we should be talking about energy freedom.

Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses and ideas to compete on the free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the savings to the consumer and help grow our economy.

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