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West Virginia’s Orphan Well Problem

Experts say that methane (CH4) is a bigger greenhouse gas problem than carbon dioxide (CO2) . A great deal of methane released in West Virginia comes from orphan gas and oil wells abandoned by operators many years ago. But operators have an economic incentive to walk away from their well plugging obligations even now. Bills to fix the problem are introduced every year but simply die in committee. This year some legislators have introduced a bill that would actually permit a slowdown in well plugging and protect a big gas company from suit. We need some true stewards of our environment in the Legislature to correct this.

New Energy Jobs Await West Virginia – If We Just Elect the Right Legislators

Politics and ignorance have conspired to prevent West Virginia from fully embracing the new energy economy. But if young West Virginians are searching for a reason to stay in the state, they need look no further than career opportunities in the renewable energy sector. There is a bright future for our state if it embraces these technologies during the painful winding down of our coal and gas economy. This can only be done if policymakers in the Legislature and the executive branch get on board. It is our job as voters to ensure they do.

What Is Governing, and What Is Not

In late September we were treated to a show by the performance artists in the far-right Chaos Caucus of the Republican Party, led by Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. This nearly devolved into an actual government shutdown. It seems like any positive legislative proposal these days must endure a gauntlet filled with warlords and highwaymen ready to exact a ransom. We can all agree that obstructionist grandstanding and political extortion is not governing. Good governance is building, not destroying. It is about persuasion and coalition building, not extortion.

As the Electorate Becomes More Democratic, Republicans Suppress Voting.

Donald Trump might singlehandedly ensure Democratic victories up and down the ballot in 2024. But the biggest threat to the long-term viability of the Republican Party is not Trump – it is demographics. Each year the electorate becomes more Democratic. Republican strategists know this. Their solution is to suppress voting and hide behind the made-up justification of election integrity. Voters aren’t fooled.

What the Right Gets Wrong About Immigration

Immigration has been so important to the development of the United States that our national motto — E Pluribus Unum — refers to it. Out of many, one. But these days right wing fear-mongers led by Donald Trump have caused many of us to oppose robust immigration. Immigrants have become Americans, embracing American identity and citizenship, serving in the military, working hard in jobs up and down the economic spectrum, and enriching American art, music, and cuisine. Immigrants are home owners, taxpayers, college students, and contributors to American society across the board. Right-wing tropes about immigrant crime are just plain false. And while we dither on immigration, other countries are taking advantage.

Thank Goodness for Jennifer Krouse

Thank goodness for Jennifer Krouse. While we thought we were only electing her to the Jefferson County Commission, she has grown into so much more. She has become the protector of our children at this critical time when we have so miserably failed in our own responsibilities. We must now recognize her with a new title – Leader of the Jefferson County Morality Squad. We have so needed her firm hand on our shoulders. She has helped parents identify the moral corruption that threatens our children even though, in our own weakness, we could not see it on our own. We are so fortunate!

Trump Fans Want to Talk About Anything But This — He’s Guilty

It  started immediately after Donald Trump’s indictment. First there was the “whataboutism” and false equivalencies. What about Hiliary’s emails? What about the classified documents Joe Biden had? Then the claim that the communist, Democrat deep state has weaponized the Justice Department to take down the leading candidate to oppose Joe Biden in 2024. This is all deflection. Just like Trump himself, his supporters are grasping at shiny, manufactured grievances but don’t want to talk about the big issue — he is guilty of the serious crimes charged in the indictment.

Should the U.S. Lease St. Helena Island?

Recent legal events have caused me to recall St. Helena, one of the most remote places in the world. St. Helena is a small volcanic island in the Atlantic, about 1,200 miles off the coast of Africa and 4,000 miles from the coast of Brazil. The island was, of course, the final place of penal exile for Napoleon Bonaparte, the self-crowned Emperor of France.  St. Helena is now a British Overseas Territory, and I’m sure the Brits would welcome a new revenue stream from an old business — a small but very special penal colony.

We Need More Immigration, Not Less

Many on the right are peddling fear about immigration. To hear them tell it, we are in jeopardy of being overrun by benefit-stealing, swarthy criminals from south of the border. But this is a false narrative. The fact is that our population is dwindling and the American economy of the future needs new workers that only greater immigration can supply. Instead of a flood of immigrants, we should be worried about a drought. We need more immigration, not less.

Falstaff Runs for Senate

Jim Justice reminds us of Sir John Falstaff. Falstaff, you will recall, made appearances in several of
Shakespeare’s plays. He was a comic character — fat, buffoonish and untrustworthy. West Virginia’s own Falstaff has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate. This presents season ticket-holders for the theater of West Virginia politics with a hard choice: is this comedy or tragedy?