When the lights go on

ThinkerSome days it is difficult for me to decide which emotion is going to drive the day. I have never been very good a channeling emotions, although like most normal people I find myself transitioning through them on occasion.

When I pulled back the drapes this morning the morning sunshine filled up the living room. A dogwood in full bloom was perfectly framed by the window. The sunlight filtering through the tree’s branches made the pink blossoms appear even more brilliant. A display like that right in front of you tends to fill you up with joy. That is what happens when God gets in your face. When the television makers can produce that quality of three dimensional high definition, they will be on to something. But, as Mr. Kilmer realized, only God can do that.

This past week here in beautiful Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, we lost 29 miners in a methane explosion in an underground mine. They were doing what West Virginia’s miners have been doing for many, many years. Going underground to produce the energy source without which the lights would not go on in most of the United States of America. The computers would not fire up, the air conditioning would not come one, and the microwave ovens would not be there to warm up dinner. These twenty-nine men represented much more than just a pretty tree; they are God’s most magnificent creation. It invokes sadness to see them lost and so suddenly taken from their families.

For more than 10 years, every obstacle was overcome, every hurdle leapt over, and every required permit was obtained. The largest surface mine in the state was ready to begin coal production. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an unheard of step of vetoing an already issued permit for the Spruce Number 1 Surface Mine. We were told to expect it. I suppose you can let disbelief turn to anger.

In a single morning, a beautiful and sunny spring morning in today’s America, you can transition from joy, to sadness straight into anger in moments. I don’t know if that is the symptomatology for a mental disorder or not, but I do find it happening to me more often recently. What is good brings joy. Events bring sadness. The actions of non-thinking ideologues invoke anger. The kind of anger that we can only hope ends them up in the unemployment line and allows miners and other hard working Americans to get back to the work of providing our country what it truly needs, which is certainly not more government.

When Congress flips the switch in those paneled and marbled offices in Washington, the lights come on just as they do in their stylish Georgetown homes. That clean flow of electricity doesn’t come from windmills, solar panels or from anywhere else. It comes from coal and will continue to come from coal for many years to come. There is no source available nor is there one just around the corner that can or will replace coal, oil and natural gas.

There are plans for a coal to liquid fuel plant in Mingo County in Southern West Virginia. The EPA is trying to block that plant also. We cannot drill for oil, we cannot drill for vast natural gas resources and we are not allowed to mine coal in the most efficient manner. Now the EPA wants to prevent coal to liquid production. While you ponder that, view this presentation, OSD Clean Fuel Initiative. This presentation was once available at the Department of Energy web site. Now, you can only find green energy talk there. Just note that the liquid fuel potential from coal is 900 billion barrels with more than half of it right here in Appalachia. More potential than the reserves of all the Middle Eastern Countries combined.

Surface mining is the safest and most efficient manner to get the coal that our nation needs in the near decades. Yet, unelected and ideological bureaucrats along with people who worship the creation more than they do the creator want to prevent that. There is no near-term replacement for coal and likely no long-term one that most of us will ever live to see. As long as they are allowed to, the Washington elitists who have never dirtied their hands with a day of physical labor will continue to force West Virginians to travel miles underground, where we are always a methane blast away from another tragedy, and place their lives in danger so the lights still go on in Washington.

The United States of America cannot survive as long as it is led by people who value a windmill powered flight of imagination more than they value the lives of everyday Americans.

© 2010