Carbon County, UT recently hosted a demonstration that brought together supporters of efficient, prosperous, and necessary energy production. These demonstrators gathered to show the public that not everyone is badmouthing the energy industry.
After much anticipation, an October demonstration in Carbon County, Utah, in favor of necessary energy production proved to be a resounding success. Protesters sought to inform the general public that the energy industry provides a livelihood for many and is in fact necessary for the greater good. The protesters’ main target was the notion that energy concerns should always be start with protecting the environment.
Education, not Bullying
An article in the Sun Advocate by John Serfustini reported that protesters hoped for a 6,000-person turnout. Serfustini also reported that the protesters’ main goal was for their united call for energy advocacy to reach the ears of federal policy makers. The reason for gathering was not to argue against certain energy tactics, but rather to stage an educational protest intended to show the people that energy is not always an environmental issue.
Rallyers wanted to show the public that while the environment is important, jobs and the economy constitute more important considerations. They argued that stiff EPA regulations should not be the reason why people are out of jobs. But without a substantial amount of support, organizers might fall short of gaining the attention of the federal government.
To get those thousands of people to show up, organizers promised certain perks. The first 3,000 people received a free dinner, and the protest was open to the public. Funding came from the county’s Restaurant and Transient Room tax funds.
Gaining Vocal Support
A Fox13 report written after the fossil fuel demonstration noted that for Carbon County residents, “The fossil fuel industry isn’t just a field of work for them; it’s a way of life and a rich part of their history.” Fossil fuels not only power Carbon County, but provide jobs, hold the economy together, and are intertwined into the culture of the county, according to rally supporters and organizers.
Organizers used the unifying notion of work and passion to rally the public in support of fossil fuels. In light of tighter EPA regulations, residents are becoming more worried about the future of their jobs and livelihoods. This unification tactic succeeded in bringing thousands of participants together for the rally.
While the regulations may not be a matter of immediate concern for people who do not live in Carbon County, they are all too real for those who work and benefit from all energy industries. According to Fox13, Carbon’s Power Plant will be shutting down in 2015 due to intensified EPA regulations. The plant’s closing will not only force almost 100 people out of work, but will have a significantly detrimental effect on the local economy.
Environment over Economy
The overarching fact of the matter is that more and more is being done each year to reduce our impact on the planet in hopes of a better future for our earth. But the organizers of the Carbon County Rally argue that EPA is basing their regulations off of theory, not fact.
For Carbon County residents, the environmental concerns of fossil fuels should be taken into consideration, but should not give the EPA carte blanche to eliminate jobs and weaken the economy. In fact, what most angers fossil fuel supporters is the lack of concrete evidence for environmental problems linked to fossil fuels.
Energy and its environmental impact has been a much-debated issue for most of the 2000s. The Millennial generation has been raised on environmental concerns since birth, worrying constantly what their trash-burning parents and grandparents have done to the earth. The greater issue at hand, however, is how certain types of energy creation and consumption impact the economy and the livelihoods of literally billions of people. Though the Carbon County fossil fuel supporters realize that the environment is important and should be well-maintained, they worry more about the stability of their economy and the potential for job growth—and it’s hard to blame them.