On Tuesday, Alabama state officials said they refused to comply with the EPA's new carbon pollution measures because God gave them coal.
I mean... what?
At their news conference today Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God's plan.
"Who has the right to take what God's given a state?" he said.
If we're splitting hairs, I don't think God gave Alabama that coal supply. I actually think that a large patch of Earth had a bunch of organic material that was subsequently highly compressed and buried and eventually converted into peat, which then was covered in rock and sandstone, compressed and heated up at such extreme pressures and over such a long time (approximately 300 million years) that it became coal. By chance.
The press conference was held in response the EPA's June announcement regarding new measures that would reduce carbon emissions. The EPA mandate aims to decrease national emissions 30 percent by 2030, and would force Alabama alone to reduce its emissions by 27 percent from 2012 levels.
The state is heavily reliant on its coal industry: Alabama Power Co. has six coal-fired plants throughout the state and earned over $5.18 billion in revenue in 2013.
"We will not stand for what they are doing to our way of life in Alabama," said the organization's President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh. "I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done."