Energy is essential to our way of life and our economy. Without energy, nothing happens. The availability of abundant, cheap energy has given us the highest standard of living in the world and enabled our economy to generate wealth on a scale the world has never before seen. Cheap energy is a blessing to us all.
My father and grandfather were coal miners in Virginia and West Virginia. My father was born in Dante, Virginia in the early nineteen hundreds when Dante was a booming coal town. He never graduated from high school. He met my mother when she went to Dante as a schoolteacher. After getting married, they went to Caretta, West Virginia where he worked at the mine for twelve years. They moved to Narrows when he got a job at the Virginian Railway power plant there, which is where I was born.
I graduated with Distinction from the University of Virginia with a degree in electrical engineering, and went on to get a Master’s Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I entered the work force right at the beginning of the computer revolution, ending up in the high tech Mecca of Silicon Valley where I ultimately became Vice President of a software company.
After my first year in college, I was fortunate enough to get a summer job at AEP’s Glyn Lyn power plant. It was my first real job, and I was very glad to have it since I needed the money. I was paid $2.05 an hour, and thought I was raking it in.
The environment is now cleaner than it has ever been. To cite just one example, AEP has reduced pollution from its power plants by 80%.
But no matter how much progress is made, no matter how much the environment is cleaned up, it’s never enough. Restrictions must be made ever tighter and new bogeymen must be found.
So, the EPA has issued new emission rules for coal-fired power plants, and AEP will have to close five plants at a cost of 600 jobs and another ten to fifteen percent increase in electricity rates on top of the sixty-six percent increase that has occurred over the past few years.
The environmental extremists are overjoyed, just ecstatic, that finally those plants will be closed and electricity rates can go up. Diana Christopulos, president of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, has been quoted as saying, ”This is truly good news ----“ . The Roanoke Times could barely conceal its glee in an editorial on June 16.
Another local resident made a fool of himself recently in a screed against Rep. Morgan Griffith. This person makes the absurd argument that new EPA rules will actually create hundreds of thousand of new jobs. Closing power plants will create jobs? Also in his piece, he rants about toxic pollutants, spewing, poisoning our environment, etc. But the picture of the Glen Lyn power plant included with his article shows a pristine surrounding environment. The air is clean, the river is clean, there are lots of green trees and lush vegetation, right there beside the power plant that is so terrifying to him! Comical.
Environmental extremists are tyrants. No matter what the cost, they demand that we drive cars that they approve of; that we use forms of energy that they approve of; that we use light bulbs, water faucets, washing machines, windows, etc. that they approve of; that we use public transportation; that we live where they dictate (in sustainable “hubs”); and it goes on and on. They arrogantly tell us that we are guilty, that we have been “complicit”.
Even worse, if we don’t willingly follow their mandates, they try to use the government (EPA) to force their environmental tyranny upon us.
We Virginians have a long and storied history of standing up to tyrants, going all the way back to the American Revolution. Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Our state flag shows a depiction of Liberty vanquishing Tyranny, with the words, ”Sic Semper Tyrannis”. “Thus Always to Tyrants”.
I am tired of sanctimonious, self-righteous, pointy-headed environmental do-gooder elitists who live in ivory towers telling the rest of us how to live our lives because they said so.
It’s time we Virginians started dealing with the environmental tyrants the same way we have dealt with all tyrants who have wanted to take away our freedoms. We must now declare our independence from them, and send them packing.
It starts here and now.