West Virginia’s environment is of a great concern to all of us. I am always looking for ways we can work together to improve our environment, however, we are not making use of what we already have in place. I believe that 83 years of one party rule has contributed to this. A perfect example of this was the Elk River toxic chemical leak this past year in Kanawha. According to stories in the media, those tanks had been leaking for a very long time. Existing rules and regulations required that those tanks be inspected on a regular basis and that clearly did not happen. I attribute this to the fact that over time, with one party in power, the relationship between elected officials and appointed officials gets too cozy.
I applaud efforts like SB 373 which reinforces the existing rules which require oversight of dangerous chemical storage tanks but this important bill went from being a positive to a negative by the judicial committee, of which my opponent is a member, when they decided to remove the exceptions to regulating water and non-dangerous liquid storage. Including water, milk, and harmless liquids in the bill, this bill has caused hardship for our farmers here in Jefferson County. Everyone wants clean and safe water, but how does it benefit us to regulate water troughs for farm use?*
In my opinion, one party rule for such a long period of time has contributed to lax oversight in West Virginia. Over time, those in power have become complacent. Cronyism ensues and the relationship starts functioning like a good old boy network. This can lead to a cycle of corruption.
Holding government agencies and the private sector accountable is necessary to improve West Virgina’s environmental record. The only way to hold government accountable to itself is to elect those who will hold them accountable.
I would like to see West Virginia be open to all forms of energy, alternative and traditional. By open I mean we create an economic climate that allows companies to compete with each other to provide for us what is best. Currently in our one party system, WV is not open to anything. It is a closed system. We need to encourage cleaner ways to power our business and homes. We also need to enforce the laws that are in the books.
I believe in leadership through example. My own family attempts to be as self-sustaining as we can with our small organic garden, beekeeping, raising poultry for eggs, and composting. I have actively participated in efforts to clean up streambeds and pick up litter. I have gotten involved in encouraging and bringing folks into Solar Power projects locally. I believe that making responsible decisions is a personal responsibility that everyone must have and teach to others. I do not wish to wait for government mandates but rather want to see folks wanting and pursuing options that benefit the environment. We need someone who will hold government and businesses accountable, who does not have loyalties to any group but the law and the taxpayers.