Sustained Outrage

A friend of coal?

green_mike.jpgI blogged last week over at Coal Tattoo about new legislation introduced to give West Virginia coal companies more time — again — to comply with water quality limits for toxic selenium pollution. See Stalling on selenium — again.

I noted that Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, the chairman of the Senate’s Energy, Industry and Mining Committee (a panel that handles all legislation affecting the coal industry) listed himself as a “Friend of Coal” in his official biography.

Today, I did a quick check just to see how friendly Sen. Green is with the coal industry, and found a few campaign contributions from the major industry his committee is supposed to oversee.

Among them:

— $500 from Randy Hansford of Riverton Coal

— $500 each from political action committees associated with Norfolk-Southern and CSX.

— $500 from coal operator Andrew Jordan.

— $800 from West Virginians for Coal.

— $250 from Arch Coal’s PAC.

— $800 from AEP.

If I have time, it would be interesting to see how much campaign cash the coal industry has donated to all of this bill’s sponsors, or to all members of the EIM committee.

For any readers who are interested, the Secretary of State’s office posts these campaign cash reports online here.

Don’t call us — not right away, at least

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Statehouse correspondent Phil Kabler reported in today’s Gazette that Gov. Joe Manchin’s bill (SB 279)  to require industrial plants to report significant accidents to authorities within 15 minutes had cleared the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee.

As Phil explained, the committee’s substitute for Manchin’s bill includes language under which failure to report incidents within 15 minutes would carry a fine of “up to $100,000.”

It’s worth noting that this change is a potentially significant weakening from the governor’s proposal. As he did with the original legislation requiring reporting of mining accidents within 15 minutes (following the delayed reporting in both the Sago Mine disaster and the Aracoma Mine fire), Manchin mandated a fine of $100,000 for reporting violations. The committee’s version allows fines of less than that amount, at the discretion of the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

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How a bill (really) becomes a law

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In case you missed it on Sunday, or if you want another look, Phil Kabler and Brenda Pinnell created this somewhat irreverent civics lesson. Click here or on the picture above.

(Cross-posted from the Squawk Box) 

Deja vu all over again…

Kudos to Erica Peterson over at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, for pointing out that two state lawmakers — Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, and new House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton — gave identical speeches on Wednesday promoting the oil and gas industry.

Ironically, Chesapeake Energy announced the next day that it was eliminating more than 200 Charleston-area jobs. And the day after that, NiSource said it was cutting 170 jobs in West Virginia, as Gazette business editor Eric Eyre reported.

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