Is “Less Regulation” Really the Way to Rural Voters’ Hearts?

“Alone with the morning burning red
On the canvas in my head, painting a picture of you
And me driving across country, in a dusty old RV
Just the road and its majesty. . .”

Happy post-Fourth of July, Keep It Rural readers. And I apologize for the mental gymnastics I may have just put you through in quoting Shooter Jennings (son of country music legend, Waylon Jennings) at the jump in this week’s newsletter.

But it really is a great song, even as another gun-fueled massacre hits home on a holiday. While I’d much much rather be on a road trip in some discombobulated recreational vehicle, even in a janky station wagon, this week we get to look at another Supreme Court decision with massive impacts on rural America.

In this case, it’s the federal government’s ability to coal-fired power plants and their large volume of greenhouse gas emissions. I’m talking about West Virginia versus the Environmental Protection Agency. The same Supreme Court who ruled a week earlier to end women’s constitutionally-protected abortion rights, decided to gut the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution this time around.

Those of us who follow rural politics and policy were fully expecting this outcome, especially when our Rural Electric Co-operatives (RECs) were a significant piece of the legal coalition that supported challenges to the EPA’s authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

This ruling, of course, was followed by a glowing New York Times profile of a rural candidate for the U. S. House on Maryland’s Eastern shore. In “The Democrat Who’s Flipping the Campaign Script,” we’re told that Democrats who want to compete in rural America should consider being anti-regulation for their electoral salvation.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t know squat about the Maryland shore’s regulatory environment, and it is certainly true that bureaucratic stupidity on rural Main Street businesses is a reality. But I do know that rural people favor taxing the rich, water and air pollution restrictions on corporate agribusiness, and regulations in favor of making corporate-controlled markets more fair.

Rather than listening to the machinations of the fossil-fuel driven RECs, I’d urge you to check out the Rural Power Coalition. These groups — including CURE (Minnesota), the Western Organization of Resource Councils, Appalachian Voices, and Renew Missouri — are urging for reforms that will make for a cleaner, greener energy future while building rural economies.

More to the point, these groups aren’t doubling down on misinformation-driven conspiracy theories about nonexistent federal regulations on farm dust and cow burps. They’re actually asking for common sense federal policies and investments that grow jobs and economic opportunity in rural while holding corporate polluters accountable.

Of course, whether we’re talking about federal investments in rural or regulations that make sense in light of recent Supreme Court rulings it would be nice to have a functional House and Senate. But we can’t have it all, now can we?

Rural Reading List

The rural news is as hopping as ever in this summer week. Here’s some picks for you:

Court Says States Can Try Some Tribal Crimes; Critics Call It a ‘Disaster’

Speaking of the Supreme Court, here’s another important ruling from last week dealing with Native American Tribal sovereignty.

How Agricultural Power Structures Inform Rural Responses to Climate Change

This Daily Yonder Q&A features important conversations about farming, climate, and climate policy attitudes.

In Rural West, More Worries About Access to Abortion Clinics

This AP story has more on the recent Supreme Court ruling on rural abortion access, this one focused on rural Oregon.

Rural Colleges Need to Engage Their Communities to Serve Adults

Another rural feature from Oregon, this one focuses on rural colleges as economic engines from New America.

One More Thing: Experiments in Peach Cobbler

I have a foggy memory of hearing reverent whispers of “peach cobbler, peach cobbler, peach cobbler” around my house as a child. My parents spoke in dulcet, hushed tones as they made the dessert … and then I remember tasting the classic fruit wonder … and with one blissful bite, I understood what all the buzz was about.

— Pamela Killeen

I tried my hand at peach cobbler over the Fourth of July weekend, and it was mostly a success. I figure the filling was better than the crust and such, but that’s pretty much to be expected. While I will put myself up there in the higher reaches of meat grillers and salad-putters-togethers, a baker I am not.

But there’s no reason to despair. Here’s a guide for how to throw together a tasty cobbler, slump, crumble, grunt, or bettie depending on what they call a baked fruit desert in your corner of rural America.

And don’t forget the ice cream, the whipped cream, or the Cool Whip. That’s what pulls it all together anyway. Happy July, Keep It Rural readers, and enjoy peak summer while you can.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.