Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) published an op-ed piece saying states should simply ignore the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean power regulations. Yesterday, Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the National Governors Association, urging state leaders to ignore McConnell instead.
Regarding McConnell’s advice, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told the governors they should “consider what other Kentucky voices say about climate change.”
“Kentucky is already crafting its plan for complying with the Clean Power Plan. The Commonwealth of Kentucky’s decision to work with the EPA and prepare a plan was based, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, on what ‘the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders are telling us.’
Even fossil fuel companies get it in Kentucky. Columbia Gas of Kentucky pledges to ‘Meet the Climate Challenge,’ ‘through business activities which promote sustained economic growth in a manner consistent with our environmental obligations,’ including ‘reasonable policies addressing climate change’ and ‘appropriately crafted legislation on climate change.’”
The letter also said that mayors from some of the commonwealth’s largest cities – Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green – and the capital, Frankfort, had all signed the US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement to “act locally to reduce the impacts of climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
Several colleges in the state are actively working to address climate change. Kentucky State University recently won a Climate Change Fellowship to “engage college students in climate change education and action” and “in-depth training on climate change, how to best teach the basics of climate change.”
Western Kentucky houses the Kentucky Climate Center on its campus, Eastern Kentucky has classes focusing on global climate change and an Environmental Research Institute, and Northern Kentucky signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to “climate neutrality,” meaning it will produce “no net greenhouse gas emissions.”
Even McConnell’s alma mater, the University of Louisville, “has sponsored talks about ‘how climate change is a measurable reality’ … and ‘Climate Change Tech-Ins,’ where students, faculty and staff joined together ‘to inform, inspire and educate others about the climate change crisis.”
While the rest of the state is actively trying to educate people about climate change and reducing its effects, McConnell is still pulling his head back in his turtle shell and pretending that it doesn’t even exist.
When it comes to climate change and the environment, ignoring Mitch McConnell is great advice. The senators summed it up perfectly:
“His is not the voice from ahead saying the trail is not safe; his is the voice obstinately staying behind saying, ‘Let’s not even try.’”