A Lump of Coal

That's what's going in Rocky's stocking next Christmas.

"'You cannot wave the white flag and let the environmentalists and regulators declare victory here in the heart of coal country.'
Rocky Adkins, a state representative from Kentucky, in response to a plan for one of the state's largest power plants to switch from coal to natural gas."
That was the New York Times Quote of the Day, for 29 May.

I am struck, over and over again, by the thoughtless intransigence of what passes for a "loyal opposition" these days. I don't doubt that the switch from coal to natural gas in Kentucky poses particular economic problems for that state. But what I see here is not so much a concern for the working people of Kentucky as a cry of defiance against "environmentalists and regulators."

I made the snarky comment on Facebook that I was certain Rocky's grandpappy had argued against the horseless carriage as well. With the 19th century's burgeoning population, horse pollution was growing at a rate that outstripped all "environmental and regulatory" efforts at control.

Did you ever have to think about disposing of 1300-pound animals that had to be destroyed on the spot whenever one broke a leg on cobblestoned streets? Manure piling up so high it was mashed into another layer of roadway? Flies everywhere? Dust on the summer wind that you knew was 90% horseshit?

Today's pollution doesn't seem to be as much in our faces as the horse pollution of yesteryear, but that doesn't mean it's not there. And cleaner energy is coming along just as surely as the horseless carriage.

And when it does, we'll make that one a little quieter and cleaner too.