Coal is becoming a harder cross to bear. It won’t get any easier with stepped-up government and advocacy group hostility toward fossil fuels in general and coal in particular. Now comes word that Al Armendariz, the former administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency region that includes Oklahoma, has joined the Sierra Club’s strident anti-coal campaign. Armendariz resigned from the EPA after he was caught on tape comparing his enforcement philosophy to imperial Rome’s use of crucifixion to terrorize the population. The Sierra Club has targeted coal-fired power plants in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. So much for the liberal complaint about regulators jumping ship to work in an industry they formerly regulated. The Armendariz move is just as cozy. The Club for Ungrowth is a powerful lobby and now has a Roman centurion in its ranks. Had a Bush administration official done what Armendariz did, no conservative advocacy group would have touched him with a 10-foot rood.
MAY 3, 1999 TORNADO: Jack Jones looks over tornado damage in Moore off Western and 12th street. Westmoore High School is in the background.
When an F5 tornado hit Moore on May 3, 1999, it did $800 million in estimated damage to that community’s neighborhoods. Today, the city is one of Oklahoma’s fastest-growing. Recently, Census figures ranked Moore among the top 100 cities in the country based on its growth. The community added 1,234 people from 2010 to 2011 (2.2. percent growth). Oklahoma City and surrounding suburbs have all enjoyed growth in recent years. The Census found that Oklahoma City’s population increased by 2.1 percent from 2010 to 2011, while Mustang and Yukon experienced population growth greater than 3 percent. Yet Moore stands out because of its not-so-distant tragic past. Recalling the horror of 1999 and the broad path of rubble the tornado made of buildings and people’s lives, the growth of Moore has been a remarkable achievement, and a testament to the perseverance of Oklahomans.