January 15, 2014

Oh good

Well, I guess everybody can relax. John Boehner, Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, told the world in the wake of West Virginia's chemical mess that "we have enough regulations on the books."

According to Salon,

“I am entirely confident that there are ample regulations already on the books to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Boehner continued. “What we try to do is look at those regulations that we think are cumbersome, are over-the-top and are costing our economy jobs. That’s what our focus continues to be.”

That ought to take care of everything, right? I feel better already. I'm sure WV Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito agrees.

MEANWHILE, BACK IN REALITY, here's a good op-ed by a friend of mine on how we're trashing our water and why that might not be such a great idea.

January 14, 2014


I thought I had a pretty good rant about the WV chemical leak here, but I know when I've been outdone This one from Public Radio by Anna Sale, who used to be a reporter for WV Public Broadcasting, isn't bad either.

Meanwhile, I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that when workers from the WV Department of Environmental Protection showed up at Freedom Industries several hours after the leak, they found a 400 square foot pool of chemical "thicker than water, but not as heavy as syrup" held back by a cinder block and what sounds like a sand bag.

I mean, Jeez, what more do you need?

In addition, state officials admitted they had no plan for dealing with a leak like that.

A special joint committee of the WV legislature has been established to investigate the leak and propose possible legislation. It'll be interesting to see how industry hacks will try to gut anything that is proposed.

As I said in an earlier blog post, if any meaningful action comes from this, it will only be because some rich folks were inconvenienced this time around.

A final note: while driving to Charleston today, I saw a car with an Ayn Rand "Who is John Galt?" bumper sticker. I felt like running the guy off the road, sticking his head in some good licorice-smelling Kanawha River water for 15 minutes or so, and saying "John Galt is a fictional character from a bad book, you dumb ****.  This water, on the other hand, is real." In a nonviolent way, of course.

January 12, 2014

What's next, West Virginia?

I don't know how other residents of the Mountain State feel right now, but I think after the chemical spill in Kanawha County, all we need now is a zombie outbreak to make everything perfect.

I tweeted that sentiment yesterday and a friend replied, "It is a challenge, living in a state that is actively trying to kill you."

Come to think of it, West Virginia's leaders have a history of letting corporations get away with murder, metaphorically and literally. Kill some miners with poor safety practices? Why not. Spread some black lung around? Sure. Waste a few hundred putting in that Hawk's Nest tunnel? Go ahead. And don't even bother asking if it's just a matter of trashing rivers, streams and mountains.

That seems to apply to perpetrators with money anyway, although poor people don't seem to get away with nearly that much.

One thing that might be a little different this time is that it just isn't some poor hillbillies up hollers who are being inconvenienced by the latest chemical spill, but some of the big dogs as well. (Of course, most of WV's real rulers don't live anywhere near WV).

The latest word is that it could be days before things get back to anything resembling normal in affected areas. Oh yeah, and this: the state ignored a proposal to tighten up chemical safety practices a few years back.

Meanwhile, I love this rhetorical question another friend expressed in an email: "Hey? Have we cut government and regulations enough???"

One last thought. Living out in the sticks can have its disadvantages at times, but this isn't one of them. I'll take Goat Rope Farm's well to city water any day of the week.