Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Kentucky Sells Its Soul to India's Company Store

Energy
Kentucky Sells Its Soul to India's Company Store

Jeff Biggers

In keeping with its annual subsidy of more than $115 million to the state's welfare-laden coal industry, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced yesterday that his beleaguered state has signed a 25-year coal export agreement with India to maintain Kentucky's role as one of the nation's leaders in black lung disease, toxic water violations, irreversible strip mining ruin and entrenched poverty.

And just in time: Shipping off an estimated 8 percent of Kentucky's coal comes as domestic coal consumption continues to plunge, and Kentucky itself rejects future costly and deadly coal plants.

Only 50 years into the "rape of Appalachia," as Kentucky author Harry Caudill termed it, Kentucky now has a chance to ramp up its devastation in eastern Kentucky, whose impoverished and stripped out hollers from mountaintop removal mining have already placed the region at the bottom of the nation's well-being index.

Even as India takes the forefront in human rights and environmental violations through its own form of mountaintop removal, Kentucky also has the opportunity to accelerate its Big Coal Watergate scandal, including the tens of thousands of mining violations and contamination of watersheds that continue unchecked. 

Workplace safety violations aside, Kentucky's move to feed India's growing economy will also place the state into the forefront of black lung disease deaths, which continue to mount to record levels.

With an estimated 300 mountains and nearly 600,000 acres of hardwood forests irreversibly destroyed by mountaintop removal strip mining and more than 60 percent of the coal miner jobs lost to heavily mechanized operations, with less than 4 percent of any mountaintop removal reclamation operation resulting in verifiable post-mining economic productivity (excluding forestry and pasture), Kentucky's new agreement with India ensures the future of the state's coal country without any hope of economic diversification or recovery.

But that's okay with Gov. Beshear. Yesterday's announcement, of course, was not about the future of Kentucky, but the future of Kentucky's coal industry.

"International exports present a promising opportunity for Kentucky coal producers, as is demonstrated by this deal, and consequently for our communities whose economic vitality depends on coal," Beshear said at a press conference in Frankfort.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.

 

Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Read More Show Less
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world. PickPik

A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.

Read More Show Less
The label of one of the recalled thyroid medications. FDA

If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, check your prescription.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch