Today’s Charleston (WV) Gazette on how corporate coal lobbyists are basically writing new mine safety laws:
For generations, out-of-state coal corporations have used West Virginia like a colony, bleeding away mineral wealth and leaving little behind but poverty and ravages. The industry invests heavily to sway the Legislature. Traditionally, it wielded enormous power.
But coal is fading. The number of West Virginia miners dwindled from 125,000 after World War II to around 15,000 today, as machines displaced human workers. All studies say easy-to-reach Appalachian coal is being depleted, and production will decline severely in coming years.
Under these circumstances, it’s remarkable that coal lobbyists still have power to steer the Legislature, like the tail wagging the dog.
Replace “West Virginia” with “southwest Virginia” and “Legislature” with “General Assembly” and this editorial could just as easily be talking about our own state.