We should be talking about energy freedom. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses and ideas to compete on the free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the savings to the consumer. –Rand Paul
As a senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul has to keep his constituents in mind when talking about the issue of energy innovation. The Kentucky coal industry, last quarter, employed 11,670 people, which comprises less than 1% of the Kentucky workforce. Obviously, this isn’t a lot; but what most Americans tend to think about with coal are greasy-looking miners or mountaintop removal. But, the real face of coal production is cheap electricity, and Rand Paul knows this.
As a champion for the little guy, Rand Paul understands that an attack on coal is an attack on his state of Kentucky. Kentucky currently has the third lowest electricity rates in the country, at $7.26/kilowatt. Its coal power plants produce nearly all electricity for the entire state. These cheap rates attract dozens of industries to set up shop in Kentucky; in turn, these industries provide jobs for thousands upon thousands of Kentuckians. Just think, every time you flick on a light switch you’re probably using energy from a coal power plant. Thus, heavy energy consuming industries, like the automotive industry, would like to work in states that have low electricity rates. This makes Kentucky an alluring and attractive option for many industries. Therefore, if you kill coal, these industries could kill Kentucky.
But, Rand Paul is not some climate-change skeptic or a fool with his head in the sand. The obvious issue with coal is its pollution and Rand Paul understands that non-renewable energies increase CO2 emissions, and that alternative energy is the way of the future. But at the same time, he cares about that $7.26/kilowatt for electricity and knows that Kentucky’s coal provides a livelihood for thousands of families across his state.
Rand Paul believes in energy freedom.
As a true capitalist, he understands the power of the free market. This is certainly an area where progressive environmentalists might get wary, but the fact is, an open, unregulated market for sustainable (or renewable) energies is the best way to figure out which energy is the best. Handing out government subsidies to specific sectors of green energy (i.e. solar, wind) makes “it impossible for companies to know what is really the most efficient solution…Any energy source that really meets the needs of the American consumer would not need the government to subsidize it. Just as we don’t subsidize laptops and iPods, we should not be subsidizing solar and wind power” (Rand).
When the government gives out subsidies based on preference and not performance, there will always be unneeded lobbyists and special interests groups. Everyday Americans don’t like this game and this is what has turned Washington politics into a circus show. But, Rand Paul is among them ready to play hardball, for the sake of America’s energy future and of course, his fellow Kentuckians.
Far-left environmentalists simply want to pull the plug on the coal industry overnight, without even considering how many millions of families it could affect, or how many of these families have made a living off this industry for decades and even generations. But, all citizens will acknowledge that you can’t shut down an entire industry and not offset the job loss for these working Americans. Rand Paul has a common sense proposal that champions these individuals and families, and opens and deregulates the sustainable energy market in order to find the most efficient and reliable energy alternative.
Listen to Rand Paul discuss several different issues below (including the energy industry starting at 4:40):