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Wed Feb 19, 2014, 10:56 AM

 

Charlie Pierce in Esquire: West Virginia Is Open For Business


I don't care any more what's the matter with Kansas because Kansas doesn't seem to care what the rest of us think, but what in the fk is the matter with West Virginia? Specifically, what in the fk is wrong with the elected officials in West Virginia, and more specifically, is Governor Earl Ray Tomblin waiting until you can see the state glow from space before he realizes that his business-friendly environment is primarily occupied wth poisoning the state's actual environment?

Right now, as the state is still grappling with the effect of the chemical spill from the conveniently bankrupt Freedom Industries, and from a deluge of coal slurry into a river an Kanawha County, this one courtesy of the recently-emerged-from-bankruptcy Patriot Coal, Governor Earl Ray and his environmental secretary have decided that this is the ideal moment to turn West Virginia into a catchbasin for fracking fluids.

The legislation, HB 4411, which would allow the disposal of drill cuttings and associated drilling waste generated from well sites in commercial solid waste facilities, passed the House Energy Committee yesterday. And the Energy Committee is seeking to bypass the House Judiciary Committee and move the bill straight to the House floor.In July 2013, Huffman, without consulting solid waste authorities throughout the state, sent a memo to landfill owners and operators laying out how they could blow by their monthly tonnage limits to accommodate the fracking wastes.

Once again, as it is on so many other issues, it is out in the states where environmental issues are most directly being either ignored, or actively exacerbated, largely because state governments are cheaper and easier to buy. (Here's a nice story about the lagoons of pig shit currently afflicting Iowa.) There's a straight line to be drawn from unregulated exploding fertilizer plants in Texas to the decision by West Virginia's government to turn their already poisoned state into a repository for the toxic byproduct of an entirely new form of dirty energy extraction. There doesn't seem to be any penalty to be paid for a governor who willingly allows his state to get poisoned as long as JOBS! can be waved around as a talisman. And, well, the rest of their constituents have to live with it. Or not.

Read more: West Virginia Fracking - West Virginia Is Open For Business - Esquire
Follow us: @Esquiremag on Twitter | Esquire on Facebook

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/west-virginia-fracking-021814

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Reply Charlie Pierce in Esquire: West Virginia Is Open For Business (Original post)
cali Feb 2014 OP
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #1
cali Feb 2014 #3
1awake Feb 2014 #2
cali Feb 2014 #4
1awake Feb 2014 #5
starroute Feb 2014 #6
cali Feb 2014 #7
Brigid Feb 2014 #8
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #10
theHandpuppet Feb 2014 #9
CrispyQ Feb 2014 #11

Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 11:53 AM

1. Sadly, one of the reasons nothing will happen, Cali...

Last edited Wed Feb 19, 2014, 12:24 PM - Edit history (1)

... is because larger, richer, more populous states need Appalachian gas, Appalachian coal and a convenient dumping ground for their waste. And since it's only a bunch of us hillbillies who will have to deal with it, out of sight and out of mind, TPTB figure no one will care -- just as long as its not in their backyard.

The way you sustain this system is by not investing federal money in Appalachia and the incentives to provide the kind of jobs that would steer their economy away from such a dependence on fossil fuels. Don't give their kids a decent education; recruit them as fodder for your next war because for too many of their young poor, putting on a uniform is the only way to draw a paycheck, even if it costs them their lives. Poverty breeds desperation at home and from the outside, derision, because you can always make someone feel better by playing the role of their trash.

It's not like the people of West Virginia haven't put Democrats into office, because they have. Almost to a person (with one Republican exception) they have elected Democrats to all of the statewide offices. Governor, both Senators, Lt. Governor, Sec'y of State, etc., not to mention a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates and a supermajority in the State Senate. Where has it gotten them? Obama didn't even campaign in Appalachia during the primaries and since he's been in office, how many visits? I can only speak for myself right now but I am deeply resentful that for Appalachia, there's not been much "change" at all. We're the invisible people... unless, of course, when something like the recent spill happens and provides everyone an opportunity to point out how those dumb hillbillies got what they deserve. It's business as usual -- big business, and everyone profits except the people. But when I did my homework and found out how much campaign money Obama himself had accepted from the mining industry, I resigned myself to the fact that it's all bought and paid for, lock, stock & barrel.

I wish I knew where the answers could be found. I feel like someone groping around in the dark for the light switch.



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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 12:38 PM

3. I know you're right. alas. I have a real fondness for Appalachia

 

and it makes me so sad that what you say is true.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 11:59 AM

2. Jobs

WV has no jobs, has very little income, has more poor people/families than most places and not much else. You might be surprised what people will deal with to make a living.

I don't agree with anything that they are doing, but imo that is their mindset.

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Response to 1awake (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 12:42 PM

4. but why? why no jobs?

 

could it be decade upon decade of bad politics?

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Response to cali (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:06 PM

5. Well yes

Decades of bad politics.... nothing in the north except dead steel mills. Nothing in the south but coal mines and chemical plants... and not much in the west. The eastern panhandle has had some growth but that's due to its location.

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Response to cali (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:09 PM

6. I would guess it has more to do with things like trade routes

West Virginia is mountainous, it's not on a direct route between major manufacturing centers, it's not easy to farm, it has no large cities, and it was never well served by canals, or railroads, or highways. Coal is about the only thing it has going for it.

There are basic geographical reasons why certain areas are wealthy while others are poor -- and West Virginia got the short end of the stick. There may be things that could be done about that in the future, but right now there's no basis for prosperity.

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Response to starroute (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:21 PM

7. that's an interesting observation

 

but it's beautiful. or it was. it had that going for it.

My region reminds me of what i've seen of WV but it's had much, much better political stewardship

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Response to cali (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:46 PM

8. The story is told . . .

Of an Irishman who left an impoverished rural village there and emigrated to America. He got a job, made new friends, etc. When a friend visited Ireland and upon his return asked the Irishman how he could bear to leave such a beautiful place, he replied, "You can't eat the scenery."

In the past, many folks in Appalachia have regretfully come to the same conclusion and left the region. And now , sadly, many in West Virginia may well pack their bags, with mountaintop-removal mining and water pollution making a perfectly lovely state virtually uninhabitable.

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Response to Brigid (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:48 PM

10. Great analogy.

It's also the reason WV's demographic gets older and older... the youth have to leave in order to survive.

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Response to starroute (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 01:46 PM

9. Very astute observations

Thanks.

Until a few short decades ago, a large portion of WV was virtually inaccessible because they lacked a decent highway through the mountains. There are still places you can't get radio reception or even internet service.

The only way I see turning the economic base into one for the 21st Century is by top-notch education. Provide incentives for the best and brightest to teach WV's children and give them the opportunity for college without the prerequisite that they first carry a gun to war. If you have an educated base you can draw tech companies that need local talent.

This is what Appalchian folks are up against, getting screwed even by their own representatives:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023147631

There seems to be no desire from any quarter for Appalachia to succeed.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2014, 02:14 PM

11. The link to the pig shit story in Iowa was an incredible read, too.

Although most people don't want to hear that their meat based diet casues huge environmental issues as well.



http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/03/chinas-dead-hog-scandal-gross%E2%80%94-so-are-our-factories-farms

But as China reshapes its meat production in our image, we have no standing to feel superior when scandals like the current one in Shanghai's hinterland erupt. That's because we don't do a very good job of protecting our waterways from the hog industry, either. Consider Iowa, which houses around 18 million hogs, making it our most hog-intensive state. All of those hogs concentrated into a relatively small space generate unthinkable amounts of toxic manure. How much? Food & Water Watch weighs in:

• The nearly 733,000 hogs on factory farms in Plymouth County, Iowa, produce twice as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

• The more than 857,000 hogs on factory farms in Hardin County, Iowa, produce three times as much untreated manure as the sewage from the greater Atlanta metro area.

• The more than 1 million hogs on factory farms in Sioux County, Iowa, produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Los Angeles and Atlanta metro areas combined.

And it's not just hogs that are crammed into the state's factory farms. According to FWW, Iowa's vast confinement facilities also house 1.2 million beef cattle, 52.4 million egg-laying hens, 1 million broiler chickens, and 64,500 dairy cows. Altogether, this teeming horde annually churns out "as much untreated manure as the sewage from 471 million people—more than the entire US population."

As you might imagine, keeping such titanic amounts of shit out of water is a near futile task. There are occasional spectacular incidents—FWW points to the time in 2008 when spring floods "destroyed at least 3 hog factory farms near Oakville, drowned up to 1,500 hogs and flooded manure from storage pits downstream into waterways throughout eastern Iowa." And according to the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a group that fights factory farming in Iowa, there have been more than 800 documented in Iowa since 1995.




And some dare think humans are the pinnacle of creation?

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