Not only did Senator Puckett, my representative from southwest Virginia, vote — along with the whole Senate (almost) — for Senate Bill 1025 (“Coal surface mining operations; authority to issue pollutant discharge elimination permits”), he also carried the flag into battle for the coal industry. Puckett sponsored the bill in the Senate. What kind of price does he pay for this? How do we hold him accountable? We must ask ourselves, “How much do we treasure the integrity of our water?”
When this bill was passed out of committee, it moved faster than a Kentucky race horse to the floor for a vote, not like something we think is a good thing–savor it, and make the delight of the moment last.
In addition, by this bill, Puckett shut down the conversation by yanking the participation of the State Water Control Board, those regular citizens who serve. They are the single link for input from the citizens of the Commonwealth. Essentially, the citizens are no longer invited to the table for a conversation and input. Instead, that power will rest in the hands of one, a very real and present danger, because as we all know, ONE can hardly resist the fury of the industry.
Power is being concentrated and the conversation is being silenced. This is certainly not an indication of a good bill.
We as a Commonwealth are a part of the United States of America, and deserve the protection of the EPA, an agency of the federal government. It appears the Commonwealth would like to secede and make up the rules as they go. Or perhaps the industry will make the rules and our legislative body will follow.