EnerBlu sounds like a Johnny Mathis song, or a self-description by someone with nothing more useful in life to do than idolize a sports team.
Yes, Virginia, there were two guys who flew into town during a bleak Christmas season and said they had $450 million, but not with them, to invest in a strip job at the head of Sookey’s Creek, that they were going to compete with the Chinese by paying hundreds and hundreds of workers almost 40 bucks an hour, and that they picked us out to make batteries because we are good at starting stuff.
And since the company will put its headquarters in Lexington, there will always be proper separation of owner and worker. Research revealed that the real reason for $40 an hour is that is about the lowest a person will take to quit enough stuff to pee in the best interests of the local economy.
We just have to be careful. Going from coal to lithium and chlorides and lead must be studied. Isn’t lithium a powdered, sparkly alkali? Can you get lith lung? We actually need a new lung disease up here because Trump legalized progressive massive fibrosis in coal miners last week in return for their vote.
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We need right now to think post-lithium. If they perfect cold fusion, and they probably will, then batteries of all sorts will die soon. With cold fusion you can transport electricity around in containers like, say, propane tanks. No need for batteries if they fuse cold.
And then we need to ask ourselves just what kind of people will this new line of work attract to our community?
We were not careful enough when coal mining started and allowed way too many Eastern Europeans into Eastern Kentucky. But Sookey’s Creek and Island Creek are communities, not gated, but guarded by common custom. They have let a few Mexicans in, but, hey, those Mexicans are fine people.
Here’s how the city of Pikeville ends up with about 400 acres of what used to be private land which they used to lure EnerBlu:
In the late ’60s, the local airport board acquired this land, on the tops of ridges, under threat of condemnation, from people who didn’t want to sell it, to build an airport.
So the airport board hired a strip miner to take off the coal and level the land for runways. The coal brought the airport board so much money that they could afford to build their airport somewhere else, which they did. Then the airport board sold the land they had taken for an airport to the city.
Across the state such processes are blessed in the name of economic development.
But, boy, it would be nice if this EnerBlu thing pans out. On Christmas Eve, you believe a lot that you wouldn’t believe otherwise. Belief can be a comfort.
Reach Larry Webster, a
Pikeville attorney, at email@example.com.