Politics v. Law - "The politics are against us" (Letter to the Editor by Chuck Inwood)

Alan McCoy’s recent letter brilliantly showcases his skill at spinning a story in which the law prevails over politics. While he promotes the construction of a major new source of pollution, he has the nerve to blame Monroe for the changes to the plant that Middletown Coke has been forced to make by a court of law. He knows that, by law, the Ohio EPA is not permitted to consider location in evaluating a permit application. He knows that was a decision for local politicians.

Elected officials and the various agencies filled with their appointees seem to treat the law as a minor inconvenience as they serve their traditional patrons. Republicans appear to be beholden to Fortune 500 companies and Democrats seem loathe to disappoint organized labor.

Unfortunately, the opponents of this plant are not a significant constituency to any of the elected officials working so hard to ram this project through. We have been forced, as a result and at great expense, to take refuge in the law. Indeed, we are fortunate Monroe City Council has been so determined to protect residents from the 2,000-plus tons of pollution this plant would generate every year it operates.

The Middletown Journal’s article “SunCoke in limbo after court reversal” nicely demonstrates what many opponents have been saying for some time. We hold that, while the law is on our side, the politics are against us. The Ohio Supreme Court’s finding that the Ohio Power Siting Board erred is further evidence of that injustice. Middletown Coke’s withdrawal of its application, rather than actually face an evaluation of environmental impact and consideration of alternate locations, is par for the course.

As a younger man, I was a member of the Jaycees. Part of the creed we recited aloud at every meeting included the words: “That government should be of laws rather than of men.” Perhaps I’m naïve, but that always seemed like a sound principle to me. The story of the Middletown Coke Co. has turned that bit of wisdom on its ear.

Chuck Inwood
SunCoke Watch, Inc.