Op-Ed

Ky. Voices: 'War on coal' threatens Ky., U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's war on coal may have driven a nail in the coffin of the coal industry. Pike County is Kentucky's No. 1 coal-producing county and coal is the backbone of economic livelihood in central Appalachia.

Last month, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who leads the Obama administration's war on coal, issued a new regulation that would drastically cut Pike County's coal market by ending the use of coal in new power generation plants in America.

This just doesn't make good sense and is an inappropriate use of environmental regulatory authority.

The Obama administration can't continue to look beyond coal. America's ever-growing energy demands must be met. Gasoline is $4 per gallon and our federal government is spending over a trillion dollars a year on imported oil.

It's just mind-boggling that coal, which is America's most abundant domestic energy source, contains more energy than the world's oil. Coal is by far the most inexpensive source of fuel per BTU.

The war on coal is ongoing while America's insatiable lust for foreign oil to maintain our way of life threatens our quality of life. The Obama administration has stopped funding any research on coal-to-liquid plants in America.

Energy production in America is also an issue of national security. I have been to the Pentagon and had discussions with generals. From these discussions I determined that the present administration in Washington needs to bring factual, no-nonsense dialog to the forefront in regard to America's energy needs. We could lose our freedom and our quality of life.

Coal fuels more electricity in America than all other energy sources combined. Electricity production from coal is essential and affordable and according to the United States Department of Energy's own research, coal production must double by the year 2020 to meet America's energy needs.

Every person in Pike County and across central Appalachia must stand up against this war on coal; so many people's future depends on coal jobs. Coal operators can't get permits from the federal government for surface mining or for deep cuts in coal seams underground.

We all must urge the Obama administration to use and trust in the creative genius of America's researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a generation of clean coal technology. America can't continue to look beyond coal.

We all must keep a positive attitude about our coal industry. Coal miners and operators aren't the villains the national media and the federal government portray them to be, they are America's heroes.

A positive attitude is one treasure God will not let anyone take from us.

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