Open letter to Jim Justice


Dear Governor Justice:

I read your State of the State speech several times and found some things to like about it.

Your directness about our financial situation. Even though the taxes you propose are regressive they sunset. Job training is part of road expenditures.

Value added jobs in furniture. Raise and praise for teachers and more.

I was sad when the Federal legislature did away with the Stream Protection Rule. I believe there is a way to combine stream protection and job creation in our state without harming
coal companies. Seems to me hauling away coal waste, dealing with it properly, and restoration of mined areas would actually create jobs that displaced miners could fill; drivers, machinery operators, along with road building, tree planting and soil restoration… I am sure there are more opportunities to be found in the original Federal rule. Perhaps as part of job creation the state could PAY the coal companies to properly dispose of waste, a win for the companies and their employees, or the state could expand the job description of WVDOH.

Can you be persuaded to weave stream protection into your big plans for new taxes and helping coal miners? There would be some wins:

1) WV would be A LEADER in redefi ning the language
of “coal jobs vs. healthy environment.” It need not be an
either/or confl ict. We can have BOTH, and set an example
for Kentucky, Ohio, and other states in the same situation.

2) You would protect the health of West Virginians in affected
areas from the hazards of poorly disposed mine waste
and toxic water, and lessen health care costs.

3) Bring coal community and environmental voters together
on common goals for a healthy environment both
economically AND with respect to air and water.

4) Making our state look good (PR) to tourists by taking
environmental protection seriously.
Let’s let go of the current way of looking at things get
West Virginians working together.

Best regards,
Tenley Shewmake