Kentucky has wind potential, utilities should take advantage
June 15 is Global Wind Day, a day for celebrating wind energy resources. People from around the world will join in recognizing wind energy for the jobs it creates and the clean energy it produces. For a state that is reliant on coal for more than 90 percent of electricity generated, Kentucky can learn from the way in which wind is providing clean, healthy, sustainable solutions.
In the United States, for every megawatt of wind energy capacity installed, about 300 homes can be powered for a year. Last year, the U.S. installed 13,000 megawatts, a record breaking year. Today, over 60,000 megawatts of wind energy exist in the country providing enough energy to power about 14.6 million homes.
Kentucky has great potential for wind energy development. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, nearly 1,370 MW of wind energy potential exists in Kentucky. The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that up to 10,000 manufacturing jobs could be created in Kentucky by 2030. And a 2012 health impact assessment on energy options for Kentucky showed that diversification of Kentucky's energy sources through renewables, like wind, can help reduce diseases like asthma, heart disease, and other health disparities that Kentuckians face.
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Kentucky's utilities, regulatory agencies and elected officials should be taking bigger strides to incorporate wind power in Kentucky, either by purchasing it from existing wind farms or developing our own. If they do, Kentuckians will have even more to celebrate on next year's Global Wind Day.
Ignore GOP whiners
The Republicans have turned into a bunch of whiny sore losers since they lost the White House again. One letter writer said that President Barack Obama should be impeached for "lying." The Republicans are trying to dream up imaginary scandals because they can't win at the ballot box.
If we impeached presidents for lying, George W. Bush would have been impeached for lying to us all about imaginary weapons of mass destruction that Iraq was building.
Ignore the crybabies in the Republican Party and remember that the last Republican president caused the entire collapse of our economy. There were 13 embassy attacks under Bush and none were investigated, but one embassy gets attacked while Obama is president and it is a scandal? Give us a break.
The stock market doubled under presidents Obama and Clinton. It tanked under both Bushes.
The Republican Party and Sen. Mitch McConnell are dinosaurs from the past. It is time for them to be an extinct species of elephant. Republicans are the party of one single failed idea — cut taxes for the rich and wait for it to trickle down to the other 99 percent of Americans. This has been proven not to work; after all, George W. Bush cut taxes for the rich and the economy collapsed.
Republicans are opposed to birth control for women, they want to merge church and state, and they cant wait to start new wars with Iran and Korea. That's reason to ignore them.
Kentuckians are proud to live in a commonwealth rich in tradition and resources. However, I find it disconcerting that while we take pride in basketball, horses and bourbon, we often fail to take pride in state sovereignty.
When it comes to Kentuckians governing themselves, why do we seem content to sit on the sidelines and take orders from unelected bureaucrats spewing unilateral regulations from hundreds of miles away?
Why, for instance, do Kentuckians allow federal Environmental Protect Agency officials to dictate terms and conditions for how Kentucky utilizes coal, our state's primary natural gift?
The EPA employs two primary tactics to hinder producers from providing jobs and low-cost energy.
First, it has stalled the permitting process for mine openings and expansions, causing uncertainty among investors, owners and miners. Second, the agency now requires expensive retrofits for coal-fired power plants that don't even come close to offering sufficient economic benefits compared to the costs incurred.
Given the fact that Kentucky is a poor state in a struggling global economy, why are Washington bureaucrats allowed to strangle an industry that provides 93 percent of the commonwealth's electricity and attracts energy-intensive industries — and the multitude of jobs they create — to the Bluegrass state?
The virtues and pitfalls of coal will always be debated. But one thing is certain: decisions about Kentucky's resources should be made by those most affected — Kentuckians.
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
Paper shows bad judgment
The publication of the letter last Saturday entitled "Mideast Madness" shows remarkably poor judgment. It is factually inaccurate, laced with vitriol and clearly anti-Semitic. Inaccuracies include:
1) Clinton was impeached because he was unresponsive to the Iraq Liberation Act. (He was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice related to sex scandals.)
2) Bush and Cheney were complicit in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a blatant absurdity.
3) Congress and President Truman were traitors to the United States.
4) Conflation of the attack on the Benghazi consulate with Syrian and Iranian deaths.
5) Confusing the year of the Hebrew calendar 5773 with the date of origin of the Jewish people (2nd millennium BCE).
The writer's phrasing suggests that the Jews are guests in the U.S. and that they are capable of buying influence of the government. Both assertions are blatantly anti-Semitic and border on inciting religious hatred.
Lastly, he impugns the "God of Abraham." The God of Abraham is, after all, the God of all three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The writer is entitled to his opinion, but the Herald-Leader should not be propagating lies and hatred.
The Herald-Leader owes the Lexington community an apology and the paper's management needs to educate or reassign the person making decisions about what letters to publish.
Joseph R. Berger, M.D.