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TheLevisaLazer.com - Editorials

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Father's Day - spend time with your children   

 

By Glenn Mollette 

I wish I had been a better father. I wonder if anybody else has felt this way? 

It seems like yesterday that my two beautiful sons Jared and Zachary were only small children. What happened to those days when we played in the yard, swam,or just spent time together? The days of telling silly nighttime stories, tucking them in bed and just hanging out flew by faster than a breath of air on a frosty day. If I could reach back and pull a few of those days back to the present I would stop the clock and savor every moment of those beautiful childhood years. 

I've heard that fathers on their deathbeds do not wish they had spent more time at the office. Most fathers do regret not spending more time with their families. 

We get preoccupied as dads. I've heard great spiritual leaders like Billy Graham and Charles Stanley talk about being totally preoccupied and consumed with their speaking, writing and vocational interests to the point that they knew they had neglected their families. 

It's not easy being a dad. We know we have to bring payroll into the house, keep a roof over the family and try to keep the family fed. In and around those daily duties there are the desires to give to your children. We want them to do well in school and enjoy music and sports. Dads want to provide vacations, an occasional fun weekend, and comforts to the family. Often the stresses of work, personal goals and life's problems make dad's life a juggling act. 

Most every dad feels the pride of fatherhood. I was right "there" when both of my sons were born. I leaped for joy on both of those occasions. I have leaped many times since. My two sons are now in the military. My oldest has served almost eleven years and my youngest is starting his fourth year. I am very proud of them both. While I can't go back and try to be all that I wish I had been for my kids I can keep trying today. I never miss a chance to hug and kiss them and tell them how much I love them. More than ever I want to spend quality time with them but now the time is relegated to a few days a year. 

In the remaining years of my fatherhood I want them to know I am on their side. I am their father regardless of what comes their way. I am here to help if I possibly can but will always encourage their independence and personal goal setting. I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I know time is passing. 

My dad passed on several years ago. He lived to be eighty-five. However, life was quick and the time we had together seems like a vapor, here for a moment and then gone. 

Dads, today, before the vapor of life is gone, do the most important thing that you can do for your children - spend time with them.   

 

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author.  Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.   

Date: 06-06-2014

Program to help out-of-work miners in Eastern Kentucky gets $7.5 million...

 

An Eastern Kentucky job program will receive access to an additional $7.5 million to help deal with deep layoffs in the coal industry.

The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, which provides services in 23 counties, announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday. The money will help EKCEP continue its program called Hiring Our Miners Everyday, or H.O.M.E.

Coal companies in Eastern Kentucky have cut more than 7,000 jobs since early 2012, or nearly half the coal jobs in the region.

The H.O.M.E program provides job training and other services to laid-off miners and their spouses. Nearly 2,000 people have enrolled in the initiative; of those, about 900 have gotten new jobs and more than 600 are in job training, according to the employment program.

"This new funding will allow us to continue to meet the workforce needs of our region's unemployed miners in a time of unprecedented need," Jeff Whitehead, head of the program, said in a news release.

The Department of Labor awarded the employment program $5.2 million last year to help miners. The agency has drawn down $3.7 million of that so far.

The new grant brings the total available to the agency to $11.3 million.

For more information on the initiative, go to homeeky.com or call 1-855-466-3690.

 

By Bill Estep
Lexington Herald-Leader

 

Date: 06-04-2014

Officials: New power plant rules don’t ‘bode well’ for Eastern Kentucky coal...


On Monday, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled proposed new regulations for power plants that could see Kentucky reduce its energy production-related emissions by nearly 20 percent by 2030.

And, while industry officials and others are just beginning to examine the policy, expected to be set in stone by next year, the general consensus is that the plan does not play positively for coal.

The proposed regulations, announced by both the EPA and White House, will require states to come up with their own plans to meet certain emissions goals by 2030. In Kentucky, according to documents released by the EPA, that will be focused on reducing Kentucky’s emission rate from 2012’s rate of 2,158 pounds/megawatt hours to 1,763 pounds per megawatt hours.

In West Virginia, the documents show, the state must reduce emissions from 2,019 pounds per megawatt hours to 1,620 by 2030.

By meeting all state goals, according to the EPA, the regulations would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30 percent from CO2 emission levels in 2005.

A Presidential Memorandum issued as a part of the regulations requires that states submit at least an initial plan by June 30, 2016, which includes commitments to concrete steps that will ensure the state will submit a complete plan by 2017 or 2018, as appropriate.

Whether the new regulations, if approved, will cost or save money at the national level is a matter which has been under debate since before the 645-page regulation was released Monday.

The EPA documents state that if states choose to comply with the guidelines on a state-specific basis, there is an annual estimated compliance cost of approximately $7.5 billion expected. However, the EPA documents, using calculations for benefits such as those to health care costs, expects that the net benefits could be between $49 to $84 billion.

In a speech Monday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy indicated that doing nothing is a costly proposition, for both the health and welfare of the citizens of the United States.

“Climate inaction is costing us more money, in more places, more often,” she said. “2012 was the second-most expensive year in U.S. history for natural disasters. Even the largest sectors of our economy buckle under the pressures of a changing climate, and when they give way, so do businesses that support them and local economics that depend on them.”

McCarthy also pointed out that many companies are already reducing the amount of carbon they produce.

“The bottom line is: We have never — nor will we ever — have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” she said.

Also, she said that energy will remain affordable and reliable, and, “Any small, short-term change in electricity prices would be within normal fluctuations the power sector already deals with.”

However, not everyone agrees with that assessment.

A brief time after the proposed regulations were announced, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blasted the plan, saying in a statement that the rules would “deliver a blow” to the U.S. economy.

“Today’s regulations issued by EPA add immense cost and regulatory burdens on America’s job creators,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. “They will have a profound effect on the economy, on businesses, and on families. The Chamber will be actively participating in EPA’s input process on these regulations, and will be educating our members and affiliates about their impacts.”

Whatever the costs to the national economy, nearly all those involved in the process agree that the regulations mean bad news for Kentucky’s coal industry, particularly that in Eastern Kentucky.

The big “news” of Monday’s announcement, according to Kentucky Power spokesman Ronn Robinson, is that the implementation of these rules is going to be left to the states.

“They’re leaving reduction requirements to each state, so that could vary from Kentucky to West Virginia to Texas to Ohio,” he said. “They’re going to allow them to implement the rules in the end. We will work with the states where we’re involved ... we will be part of those discussions.”

Kentucky Power, he said, is already working toward making natural gas the primary source of energy at the Big Sandy Plant near Louisa.

“Our plans have already been set with Big Sandy,” he said. “We got the approval last year to retire Unit 2. We’ll replace that generation. And we’re currently seeking to convert Unit 1 to gas. Given that, these rules won’t affect us.”

However, Kentucky will feel an impact, according to Robinson.

“In the end, I don’t think it bodes well for coal,” Robinson said. “And I think most people would acknowledge that, just because it’s going to make it more stringent to utilize that resource to generate electricity.”

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett said Monday that it will take some time to analyze the complete impact of the proposed regulations, but that they will certainly be “bad news” for places like Eastern Kentucky.

“At a time when Kentucky’s coal industry is already suffering historic numbers of job losses and a downturn in our production, the President’s actions Monday will be one more attempt to destroy our domestic market,” he said, adding the regulation’s forced move away from coal comes at at a time when the international community is using more coal.

 

Kentucky politicians universally pan proposal

The reaction from Kentucky’s representatives at the state, local and federal levels was swift and unified Monday in blasting the proposed regulations.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, issued a statement, calling the proposed regulations “draconian” and saying that the announcement, “is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class, and to representative Democracy itself.”

“The impact on individuals and families and entire regions of the country will be catastrophic, as a proud domestic industry is decimated — and many of its jobs shipped overseas,” McConnell said in a statement. “Those who don’t lose jobs to foreign competitors will see higher utility costs and other living expenses at a moment they can least afford it. In short, the downstream effects of today’s announcement will be staggering for millions.”

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging McConnell for his seat in the November general election,issued a brief statement Monday on the plans, blasting President Obama, with whom McConnell has attempted to link Grimes in the early stages of the race.

“President Obama’s new EPA rule is more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky,” she said in the statement. “Coal keeps the lights on in the Commonwealth, providing a way for thousands of Kentuckians to put food on their tables. When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I will fiercely oppose the President’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my number one priority.”

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers also blasted the plan for both its potential costs to consumers and the people of Eastern Kentucky.

“The EPA is executing a power-enthused plan that will cause utility rates to skyrocket, will send even more hardworking people to the unemployment lines in our coalfields, and will put a devastating strain on our small communities,” Rogers said. “In Eastern Kentucky, we’ve lost nearly 8,000 coal mining jobs since 2011, yet this Administration continues to surge forward without a jobs plan to replace the good paying salaries that are so difficult to replicate. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already calculated the loss of 224,000 jobs per year through 2030 if the EPA isn’t stopped. In Eastern Kentucky, we are working to diversify our economy and overcome the odds through the SOAR initiative, but we need hope, not more job-killing efforts from this Administration.”

Monday marked the “second phase of the (EPA’s) outreach efforts” on the new rules.

The agency will accept comment on the proposal for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold four public hearings on the proposal.

According to the agency, the exact dates and times for the hearings have not been set, but they will be held the week of July 28 in Denver, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.

Based on the input, according to the EPA statement, the agency will finalize the standards next June.

Comments may be submitted on the EPA’s website; by fax to, (202) 566-9744; or by mail to: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mailcode 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. OAR-2013-0602, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20460.

By Russ Cassady
Appalachian News-Express

 

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