Thursday, July 10, 2014

On WV Energy and the Environment

The Obama administration’s increasingly expansive environmental policy is bringing about serious challenges to West Virginia. With new proposed EPA regulations redefining navigable waters, Chesapeake Bay mandates, and recently imposed greenhouse gas rules threatening the state’s largest economic driver, people throughout the State are scratching their heads wondering what on earth the President has against them. Many are not just wondering, but are visibly and rightfully angry at what they claim to be a highhanded and undemocratic exercise of power.  Furthermore, policymakers throughout the Mountain State are beginning to ask exactly how the US Executive Branch intends to offset the economic blow that will most certainly hit West Virginia hard in response to such policy changes. 

On the flip side of that coin, many citizens in the state are still reeling over a chemical spill that poisoned over 300,000 West Virginians earlier this year, an accident that was clearly lost on the EPA and the DEP in their responsibility to protect PEOPLE like you from haphazard devastation to our environment. There is no doubt about it. We need clean water. We need breathable air. We need food. We need energy. And we need jobs. Balancing these interests require thought and strategy. Clearly, leadership is needed. Effective policy is imperative. Yet, whether the EPA can intelligently and appropriately address the real environmental issues or is more inclined to steer off into collateral issues and pointblank power grabs is precisely what many are debating right now.

It has been said that West Virginians do the heavy lifting. As a matter of fact, West Virginians for decades have carried the burden of supplying the nation with its greatest source of power. Our people have taken on incredibly taxing physical labor, endured adverse health conditions both in its laborers and in their families and children, and have allowed its mountains and water supply to be exploited in an effort to fuel the nation.  Is it too much to ask in return that that same nation pay proper tribute to the effects that these new policies will have on those who have endured for so long in loyalty to this great country? Is it too burdensome to request that our national and state policymakers consider that West Virginia has been there for them and their constituents, quietly serving in some of the toughest jobs in the land in an effort to keep the lights on for its neighbors in the US and even in the world?

I want to encourage the people of West Virginia to raise their voice with respect to this debate. The Putting People First campaign has recently published a survey imploring people like you to make your opinions known. It is a grassroots effort, but one that seeks input right at the level where the impact of these changes will be felt most, in YOUR home and with YOUR family and friends. These efforts have not been in vain. In just the first 48 hours of publishing the survey online, we have received over 70 anonymous responses weighing in on issues including the EPA’s proposed rule to the Clean Water Act, the Chesapeake Bay mandates, mountaintop removal mining, hydraulic fracturing, and drill waste deposits, to name a few.

Often, it is the loudest voice on the fringe of the debate that gets most heard and that is not always best for the everyday family trying to put food on the table. Fortunately, we live in a time where people like you can raise your voice effectively through Internet and social media. That is what this survey seeks to do. To raise the voice of the PEOPLE so that those in Washington and throughout the State will be forced to pay attention to the outcry that comes when PEOPLE assemble, whether virtually or otherwise, and petition their government for a redress of grievances. That is what our Constitution is meant to protect. That is why our First Amendment is central to our democracy. And that is why we should use every means necessary to ensure that PEOPLE like you are heard.  Please consider providing your input! The survey is available on my website and can be accessed by clicking the “Raise Your Voice” link below. Thank you for your consideration.


  1. DEP/EPA have not gone far enough. WV needs to prepare for the inevitable post-coal and post-fracking future by bringing in industry that makes sense, not gasping for breath in the energy industry of the past.

  2. Am very impressed with your survey - and your genuine interest in what people are thinking. This is very refreshing!