by Max Brantley
The climate deniers, Dumas notes, say we should cheer a warmer planet — the melting ice cap, rising oceans, wild weather swings notwithstanding. Arkansas leads the way in the wrong direction.
In case people might be getting the wrong idea from all the climate news, Randy Zook, president of the State Chamber of Commerce [there he goes again], wrote a piece for the Democrat Gazette last week warning that terrible damage was about to be inflicted on Arkansas by the Environmental Protection Agency, which wants to cap carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The U. S. Supreme Court said years ago that the Clean Air act obliged government to regulate greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, and the proposed EPA rules on new source performance standards for carbon-based power is the first anemic effort.
Nearly everywhere in the U.S. except Arkansas utilities and government have scaled back coal-based power development. The EPA rules won’t discommode a single Arkansas homeowner or business, but Zook warned that we will no longer have electricity that we can afford.
Our congressman Tim Griffin, deterred only briefly by the ExxonMobil tar-sands pipeline catastrophe in the heart of his district, rejoined the effort to get the president to approve the giant tar-sands pipeline across the heart of the country, which would enable Canada to develop its tar sands and give the biggest impetus yet to global warming. Griffin was elected by $220,000 of carbon-industry money, including $4,000 from Exxon Mobil, but the entire Arkansas congressional delegation joins him. All six also join the oil and coal industries in opposing the EPA rules.
The unstated argument is that electricity costs might go up a little and that our prosperity should not suffer a whit to preserve a healthy planet for our great-grandchildren. The great search of our time is for a moral philosophy to justify selfishness.