Pan Appalachian Defender

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Gov. Kaine and Surface Mining

Becca Sender

“Virginia’s identity is its land,” says Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine. In a speech at the 17th annual Environmental Virginia Symposium in April 2006, Gov. Kaine promised to protect the land, water, and air that he acknowledges define the state and its people. “When lands that are vital to the telling of our story, our history, and our culture vanish,” Kaine stated, “everybody loses.”

Kaine was elected in November 2005, and $88,000 of his campaign contributions came from Dominion, which proposes to build a new power plant in Wise County, VA, that will burn as much as two million tons of Virginia coal each year. Alpha Natural Resources, which donated $10,000 to Kaine’s campaign, is a leading extractor of Appalachian coal and is especially active in Wise County. James W. McGlothlin contributed $25,000 to Kaine’s campaign. McGlothlin is the founder of the United Company, which started surface coal mining in the 1970s. F.D. Robertson, a retired coal operator, donated $13,000 to the campaign. The Virginia Coal Association donated $10,000.

On July 19, 2006, Kaine announced a $2 million state grant toward developing the four-lane Coalfields Expressway in Virginia and a connector from it to Kentucky. The road is to be built in conjunction with surface mining of coal along its route.

Isn’t it curious that a governor with such ties to strip mining has promised to “preserve the natural, cultural, and historic resources that serve as the foundations of Virginia’s identity?” The centuries-old communities and traditions of Virginia’s coalfields are under attack from the practices of the rapacious coal industry.

Does Gov. Kaine’s leadership make you feel that your interests are being listened to and protected?


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