Who is going to reign in the power of the fossil fuel industry in West Virginia?
Progressive West Virginians shouldn’t wait for current Democrats to do the right thing
My previous post dealt with how the fossil fuel industry runs West Virginia. My example for coal was Wednesday’s passage in senate committee of a three-year tax cut for steam coal despite evidence that it would do little for coal mine employment but much for the bottom line of coal companies. (See here, for instance.)
Today’s editorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on the senate committee’s passage of the bill called my attention to the fact that this bill apparently passed the committee on a voice vote despite more “nays” than “yeas.” I checked. Here’s Phil Kabler’s coverage of the vote from yesterday’s Gazette-Mail:
When a voice vote on the bill appeared in favor of the “nays,” Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, immediately declared the motion adopted, and there was no request for division on the vote.
We have no record of how our legislators voted; it apparently passed the committee despite a majority against the bill and yet no Democrat or Republican member was willing to do the obvious and ask for a roll call vote. Here’s the editorial’s conclusion:
West Virginia steam coal is more expensive than in competitor states, but what’s really leaving the industry in the dust is natural gas, which is also far less expensive. This has been painfully obvious for years, but state legislators continue to try and appease out-of-state coal barons at the expense of West Virginians.
(Emphasis mine.) That’s putting it nicely.