THE Associated Press took an extensive look at poverty and an aging population in Appalachia, which runs from upper New York state southwesterly to Alabama.
The AP pointed out that more than 15 percent of Appalachian residents already are 65 or older, which is above the national average of 13 percent.
"The aging population means more demand for health care, economic help, transportation and home help, which are already in short supply in much of Appalachia," the AP reported.
The combination of poverty and an aging population reflects decades of little or no economic growth. Generations of children who migrated to more prosperous areas left behind poverty, both for themselves and the area of their birth.
But not all Appalachia is the same. Some states have prospered — in particular North Carolina,
Tennessee and Virginia. All are right-to-work states.
Right to work is not a magic bullet, of course, but a look at the economies of the 23 states that have right-to-work legislation shows, in general, far more economic growth than West Virginia has had in
n n n
ALTERNATIVE energy is described as clean and environmentally friendly. But Americans should always ask questions. As with any
human activity, there are trade-offs.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power discovered this the hard way.
Its 8,000-acre, 90-turbine Pine Tree wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains apparently has killed eight federally protected golden eagles since it opened two years ago.
Small wonder. The blades move as fast as 200 mph.
The 5,000-turbine Altamont Pass wind farm in
California kills about 67 golden eagles each year,
according to the Los Angeles Times.
A number of environmental groups have sued to block the proposed 13,535-acre North Sky River and Jawbone wind farms next to the Pine Tree turbines.
West Virginians have legitimate concerns about the effect of their wind farms as well — particularly those along migration flyways.
The Kern County, Calif., Board of Supervisors has adopted a goal of 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production by 2015. Los Angeles has set a goal of 35 percent by 2020.
Sounds very "progressive."