A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Competition from natural gas, not federal regulations, behind collapse of coal industry

Obama administration regulations are not solely to blame for coal’s decline, says a study by Columbia University researchers. Researchers found that “competition from cheap natural gas is responsible for 49 percent of the decline in domestic U.S. coal consumption.” They also say “changes in the global coal market have played a far greater role in the collapse of the U.S. coal...

Commentary: Trump’s executive order is good news for Kentucky’s coal communities

By Sen. Mitch McConnell Special to KyForward At the beginning of this year, I sent a letter to then President-elect Trump urging him to work with Congress and use his executive authority to provide regulatory relief to Kentucky coal miners and their families. Last month, he stepped in to offer a much-needed reprieve from the so-called Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation, which tried to extend the...

Bill Straub: To no one’s surprise, under GOP health plan, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

WASHINGTON – If, as Forrest Gump’s mom was fond of saying, “Stupid is as stupid does,’’ there is a whole lot of people doing stupid in the nation’s capital these days. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t hardly identify the stupid without a scorecard. Most of the horrors are, of course, emanating from the White House, where President Donald J. Trump often seems out to prove that...

Rural Blog: Despite waning demand for coal, some Obama policies could have helped revive the industry

Repealing the Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule has yet to create any new coal jobs and likely won’t do much to revive the industry in the future, James Higdon, author and son of a Kentucky Republican state senator, writes for Politico Magazine. “Tyler White, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, couldn’t say how many jobs he thought the repeal of the rule would...

Commentary: Congress, White House working together to bring relief to coal country

By Mitch McConnell Special to KyForward As the Obama administration packed its boxes and prepared to leave office, the former president took a parting shot at Appalachian coal communities, who have already been some of the areas most hurt by his coal policies. After eight years of anti-coal executive actions, the Obama administration added insult to injury with its Stream Buffer Rule. This regulation...

Bill Straub: Despite host of critics, Obama will go down as one of our most consequential presidents

LONDON – The man much of Kentucky loves to hate, a Kenyan pretender who openly worships Allah and has waged a sickening war against white people over the past eight years, is finally moving out of the Oval Office and into the ignominy he deserves. Barak Hussein (ha ha, Hussein) Obama has led this great nation down the garden path for too long and it’s time the reins of power be turned over to...

Rural Blog: McConnell says environmental rules, not natural gas, mainly to blame for coal downturn

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released a letter he sent to President-elect Donald Trump proposing ways the incoming administration can revitalize the region’s coal industry. McConnell, who has blamed President Obama for coal’s downfall, said environmental regulations are largely to blame for the downturn in the industry and that natural gas is not the solution to the nation’s...

Bill Straub: Massie’s Second Amendment Caucus may be be out of step with mood of country

WASHINGTON – The Whiz Kid is at it again. Just a little more than a week before the city of Louisville revealed that 2016 proved to be its deadliest, with homicides reaching at least 113 and law enforcement authorities responding to more than 400 shooting reports, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, is revving up that old Second Amendment war horse, essentially promising the good...

Sullivan University administrators invited to D.C. to celebrate White House Healthy Campus designation

A group of Sullivan University System administrators have been invited to The White House to celebrate the university’s designation as a White House Healthy Campus and to hear remarks from First Lady Michelle Obama. Sullivan University and Spencerian College are among 350 schools nationwide participating in the White House Healthy Campus Challenge and among those invited to the Jan. 13 White...

Bevin administration will continue Medicaid waiver negotiations despite Trump’s election

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The administration of Gov. Matt Bevin says it will continue negotiations with federal officials about its requested waiver of some Medicaid rules despite the election of Republican Donald Trump, who vowed in his campaign to “repeal Obamacare” but now says he will keep parts of it. “Until changes occur at the federal level, the Bevin administration will...

Obama appoints Kentucky Chief Justice Minton to board of directors of State Justice Institute

President Barack Obama has nominated Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. to serve on the board of directors of the State Justice Institute. SJI is a federal non-profit corporation that awards grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts. Some areas SJI is focusing on with grants this year are language...

Obama says he’ll sign Senate-approved addiction treatment bill despite lack of funding

The Senate passed and sent to President Obama on Wednesday a bill to improve treatment for heroin and prescription-drug abuse, but without the extra funding that Democrats said was needed to make it effective. The White House said Obama would sign it because “some action is better than none.” “This is a comprehensive legislative response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic...

Rural Blog: Feds’ forecast shows major decline in coal production with or without Clean Power Plan

Appalachian coal production is forecast to decline by 79 million tons by 2040 under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and would decline by 50 million tons without the plan, says a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The report “shows that coal production in the Appalachian region, which has declined steeply since 2000, is projected to see the smallest reduction in production...

Bill Straub: Massie’s positions indicate he thinks all American interests terminate at the border

WASHINGTON – Rep. Thomas Massie probably never met Robert W. Welch but the Republican lawmaker from Somewhereorother Lewis County is leading a campaign that would make the old, reactionary battle axe proud. Welch, some of you may recall, founded the John Birch Society in 1958, an organization so far to the right that even the eminent conservative William F. Buckley Jr. blanched when considering...

Congress goes home for July 4 holiday after reaching yet another impasse on Zika virus

Congress took a break for the July 4 holiday after reaching another impasse on funding to combat the Zika virus that has caused birth defects in Mexico and the Caribbean. “Senate Democrats on Tuesday shot down a House-passed bill that would have provided $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne virus, citing opposition to the measure’s changes in pesticide regulations and restrictions on...

Commentary: KentuckyWired part of the Obama administration’s war on the Internet

By Drew Johnson Special to KyForward The Bluegrass State is already reeling from the Obama administration’s war on coal. Now the people of the Commonwealth are preparing to feel the sting of ObamaNet, the administration’s attempt to seize control of the Internet. Just as President Obama used the Environmental Protection Agency as a means to shutter most coal-fired power plants in the U.S. – and...

Bill Straub: Sum of Trump’s missteps still not enough to shake McConnell’s blind support

WASHINGTON – There simply is no polite way to say this: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has endorsed, and wants you to vote for, an overt racist and make this overt racist the 45th president of the United States of America, vowing to intercede, if need be, to stop that prospective president from doing any racist thing he happens to conjure up during his four-to-eight years in office. Now,...

Bill Straub: Bevin’s dubious decision to enter lawsuit could prove both divisive and costly

WASHINGTON – The Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone Award goes once again this week to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Judges are convinced the Republican from Louisville will so dominate the selection process from here until the end of his term that they’re simply going to name it after him. Bevin’s accomplishment this week, of course, is sticking his nose in the debate over the rights of transgender...

Bill Straub: McConnell failed to spin his political magic, co-opt Tea Party wing of GOP in Senate

WASHINGTON – It’s now apparent that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has pulled what might be termed a Gregor Samsa, metamorphosing from a center-right dealmaker in his early days to the sullen obstructionist committing significant harm to the nation that we all, unfortunately, now recognize. There always has been some mystery regarding what compelled the Louisvillian to embrace the dark...

EPA chief: Coal communities in danger of being left behind, with or without clean power regulations

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said coal-dependent communities are “at risk of being ‘left behind’ as the country moves away from coal power,” Timothy Cama reports for The Hill. McCarthy, who was participating in a discussion on Friday with science educator Bill Nye, also said that the move away from coal, which she said would happen even without President...