I was surprised at the personal and vicious attacks directed towards Rep. Jim Gooch by some in the uninformed, liberal left- wing. Rep. Gooch who is Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee in the House has been opening the dialogue concerning the over zealous attempts by radical environmentalist to eliminate the coal industry in Kentucky.
First, let me say that Jim Gooch is respected as a trusted leader among his colleagues in the House and the Natural Resources Committee. Known for his integrity and work ethic, Rep. Gooch is very popular in his district which encompasses Webster, Hopkins, Daviess and McClean. Taking on issues and taking hits for members of his committee, Jim Gooch has managed the political needs of his fellow committee members as well as those of the Democrat Party.
How does one in the same breath promote the issues and political attributes of the Labor Unions and at the same time attack the United Mine Workers (UMW)? No coal, no UMW. How does one scream from the left for open debate, process, and fairness for all issues but not for a position or argument they oppose? I believe the editorializing should be left to Kentuckians. Left to people who live and work in Kentucky. Left to people who have made an investment in Kentucky, not people who don't live here but only try to capitalize from afar by making a few bucks for them self. When your family has lived in Kentucky a couple hundred years then I would say you have an investment!
I have spoken at length with Rep. Gooch regarding this matter and have also done a little homework on this issue. It is not a catch all but I have found more evidence against the global warming hypothesis than for it.
Rep. Gooch who supports renewable energy solutions also believes that we can't take any options off the table. It is predicted that Kentucky's energy needs will grow by an estimated 3% per year. Kentucky must plan now to provide not only clean solutions but affordable solutions that allow us to capitalize on our own resources. Job's and economic growth must be factored into our discussions and our decisions.
Former Vice-President Al Gore has raised the issue of the global warming hypothesis but has done so without the support of the vast majority of the scientific community. One must keep in mind that the same people who are fueling this debate were also the same people who were screaming that the earth was cooling and we were heading for another ice-age back in the early 1970's.(Umh)
Much of the this debate has been brought to the front burner by the United Nations supported group the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC). The IPCC adopted a climate accord known as the "Kyoto Protocol" in 1997 in a meeting in Kyoto, Japan. One must also take into account that of those 2000 or so scientist present only a hand full were climate scientist. Many of those present did not even vote for its adoption. The premise of all this is simply that the planet's temperature is rising because of the rise in the use of fossil fuels. The United States Senate rejected the Kyoto Protocol Agreement in 1998 by a vote of 95-0. Al Gore got as much support from his former colleagues as he did from his fellow citizens back in Tennessee.
The majority of scientist in the world have gone on record stating that the data provided by atmospheric research does not support the computer models as put forth by the IPCC. Frederick Seitz, a past president of the National Academy of Sciences, was quoted as saying: "the treaty is, in our opinion, based on flawed idea." There appears to be no evidence what so ever to support that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful but there is evidence that points to the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide as environmentally useful.
Dr. Arthur D. Robinson, who was then president and research professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, presented the White House with a petition discrediting the IPCC and the global warming hypothesis. 17,000 scientist signed the petition. Over 10,000 of the scientist retained advanced academic degrees.
The Leipzig Declaration was adopted in November of 1995 in Leipzig, Germany and updated with a second declaration in 1997 in Bonn, Germany. The Leipzig Declaration referred to the Kyoto Treaty as "dangerously simplistic, quite ineffective and economically destructive". A few that signed this declaration were: Patrick Michaels, University of Virginia professor and past president of the American Association of State Climatologist; Larry Brace, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; David Aubry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Richard Lindzen, the Sloane Professor of Meteorology at MIT.
Although Rep. Gooch may not do as well as Al Gore when is comes to presenting his case, Rep. Gooch has science, research and facts on his side. Jim Gooch is not some zealot who rails against the environment. Rep. Gooch has to balance the needs of the environment along with the need to produce energy and jobs for the Commonwealth. Rep. Gooch said, " I'm trying to get a debate going, but we can't act to quickly or hastily". "Kentucky is going to have to utilize every form of energy to meet our future needs".
Rep. Gooch wants Kentucky to create long term planning that does not take coal off the table as a viable and cost effective way to provide energy to the Commonwealth. As Rep. Gooch pointed out, Kentucky cities are already making plans to buy energy from out of state companies powered by coal but not Kentucky coal. It is my understanding that the cities of Paducah and Princeton are already planning to buy power from Prarie State Energy. What good sense does it make to help create jobs elsewhere, send our citizens money elsewhere and use somebody else's coal? If I recall, did somebody make this case for the gaming industry recently?
Praire State Energy which is located in Livelly Grove, Illinois (Southern Illinois) is well underway building a plant that will provide energy to Western Kentucky. The Praire State plant will use coal. Praire State Energy boast a state of the art plant with the latest in environmental safe methods including: Nitrogen oxide controls, selective catalytic reduction, Dry electrostatic precipitators, sulfur dioxide scrubbers and wet electrostatic precipitators.
Were already losing jobs, energy, money and opportunity because of the success of states like Illinois. We need to encourage the construction of plants like Praire State not scaring them off through bad legislation, the permitting process and environmental lawsuits. We also must balance the effects of our environment. We don't need to shut our eyes to the concerns of strip mining, mountain top removal and air pollution. We must find a balance which meets Kentucky's long term needs and allows us to harvest our natural resources in a cost effective method and in a reasonable environmentally safe manner.
Rep. Jim Gooch does an excellent job and I think somebody needs to walk a mile in his shoes before they criticize him again.
(Sources: 1-UN-IPCC. 2.-prairiestateenergy.com.3-S.Fred Singer,"Kyoto Accord Protest Quickening", Washington Times, April 22,1998. 4-Article by Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe,November 5,1998. 5-Interview: Rep. Jim Gooch Jr. 5-Various websites on Kyoto Protocol & Leipzig Declaration)