Fruit drop: Biomass Mess to the North


The story of the ongoing imbroglio over operations at the biomass energy plants in Colbert and Carnesville is starting to look like one lifted from the pages of Southern literature. Like Flannery O’Connor’s traveling Bible salesman, or even like Twain’s well-known King and Duke, some slick operators from who knows where rattled into town some years back and sold the local yokels a bill of goods, some bottles of snake oil, or some magic beans. The locals were fooled into providing considerable financial and logistical support for an operation that turns out to be a full frontal  assault on the public’s health and safety. The operators’ initial presentation promised clean, safe, “renewable” energy generation, but they certainly knew, as early as 2016, that a dirty alternative was fully permissible under recently reversed regulations. What we see now is the heavy drop of the fruits of a popular political sentiment that holds all government regulation, at any level, as pesky, irrelevant, and distasteful. Such sentiment deifies the private sector as the only means of efficient operation of any activity. It vilifies public servants as useless, bungling bureaucrats, that only work like a sea anchor to slow the swift clipper of the private market on its full sail voyage toward a glorious and golden yonder shore. The regulation reversal that applies carries the curious irony of application only to corporate entities. Individuals cannot burn even one old tie, yet corporations can burn thousands. No more smelly example can be found of “corporate welfare”, a funny fat-cat flip-flop of Reagan’s iconic and false myth of the “welfare queen”. A recent Madison Journal story about Franklin County shows Carnesville locals as being wised up and ready to ride the impostors out of town on a rail, just like Twain’s colorful King and Duke. Madison County, having mortgaged its future on the carpetbaggers’ pitch, cannot afford such relief, and is left only to deal with the devil it thought it knew. Jim Baird Comer
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