Environmental connections to public health >>
Subsidies for dirty energy
According to the Washington Post, a New Deal program intended to spur investment in rural electricity production in the 1930s continues to shell out billions in low-interest loans for building coal-fired power plants. Though some have tried to eliminate the antiquated subsidy under the argument that most rural areas in the States now have easy access to electricity, the program has proven quite resilient. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association insists that cheap loans will help to keep electric rates affordable in rural regions, warning that any congressional action that jacks up energy prices could result in political suicide.
At the same time, concern over global warming has pressured lawmakers to search for solutions. Investment in coal power will only increase US greenhouse gas emissions, and could offset the positive effects of new vehicle efficiency measures.