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Prosperity by Destroying the Earth

Here’s Bill Johnson, the longshot Republican vying to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R) in Kentucky, arguing for the elimination of the EPA:

The Federal Government is standing between the American people and their use of their natural resources. It is time to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency [and] return those responsibilities to the states.

In Kentucky, of course, the environmental debate doesn’t exist outside the context of coal. And for the record, Johnson wants it to be known that he supports “all forms” of coal extraction, including mountaintop removal, where companies blast the peaks off of the Appalachians and push the debris into nearby streams. That process is popular among coal companies because it reduces labor and hauling costs. But for those living nearby, the deterioration of air and water quality is another thing altogether. Many locals are pushing back against the centuries-old trend of Big Coal decimating Appalachian communities.

Not Johnson. The self-described Reagan Republican argues that “any” further restrictions on coal companies “would decimate jobs in Kentucky and drive up energy costs for nearly every person.”

It’s an odd argument from conservatives that the best way to prosperity is to allow the wholesale rape of the land by companies that (1) are constantly searching for ways to shed laborers, and (2) are fighting to extend the nation’s reliance on the same fossil fuels contributing most to climate change. Though in the case of Johnson, the argument hardly comes as a surprise.

“The earth,” he says, “is actually in a cooling cycle.”

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