Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click links below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print an exact replica of the paper newsletter. 

December 2007

Judge: Valley Fill Damages Trump $$$ Lost
20 Years of Standing Our Ground
Changing Course: Windcall and the Art of Renewal
Highlights of OVECs History 20 Years of STANDING OUR GROUND
State Supreme Court Upholds Verdict Against Coal Company Over Destroyed Water Wells
Sludge Safety Project Makes Progress on Study
OSM Gets an Earful on Plan to Weaken Mining Rules
65 Percent of Americans Oppose Bush Plan for Buffer Zone Rules 
West Virginia Council of Churches Statement on Mountaintop Removal
Good Blue Dogs Helping to Raise Funds for OVEC This Christmas
Praying for the Land and People Victimized by MTR
Update on Blair Mountain
Strip Mining Damages Nature
A Note from Maria Gunnoe
David vs. Goliath Award Goes to OVECs Boone County Organizer
Tips on Writing a Letter to the Editor - Do It TODAY!
Clean Politics = Public Financing - It Really Is That Simple
Clean Elections: Control How You Pay for Politics
Piper Funds Challenge Grant Goal Exceeded! THANKS!!!!!
Eastern Panhandle Woman Pushes for Clean Elections
Why Dont Regulators Do Their Jobs? OVEC Answers
Delegate Wants Public Financing Law
OVEC Works! Thanks!
Public Energy Authority Not Serving Public: Manchins Coal-to-Liquids Energy Plan Gets Little Support
Mingo Residents Gather to Celebrate, Better their County
The Appalachian Adventure
Oh, Yeah, That's A Great Spot for A Mountaintop Removal Mine!
This Summers Story Voices of Those Hurt by Mountaintop Removal Mining
Ink Cartridge Recycling Program Sinks, But You Can Still EAT FOR OVEC
This Cant Happen in America, Can It?  No, Only in Central Appalachia - So Far

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, December 2007     See sidebar for table of contents

Why Dont Regulators Do Their Jobs? OVEC Answers

One of our members wrote to us, wondering why federal and state environmental regulators, charged with protecting the environment, are failing to do their jobs.  He asked that our response be printed in Winds of Change.

Dear Member,

Thank you so much for your recent $25 contribution/renewal to OVEC. Your gift really means so much to OVEC and the work we do trying to protect our beloved mountains, forests, streams and communities from the lawless coal industry. Please know that we couldnt do the work that we do without your loyal support.

In my 20 years of experience fighting for the environment, one thing that I have found time and time again, is that there are many good people working for the state and federal environmental agencies - who actually accepted positions within those agencies hoping to apply their talents and skills to do good - who later learn the disheartening news that their jobs really werent about protecting the environment or citizens. Sadly and truthfully, its mostly about being a buffer between citizens who are fighting for a better environment and corporations.

The directors of these agencies generally are appointed and serve at the will and pleasure of the government officials, i.e., the governor or the president. Two examples come to mind: When OVEC was fighting to keep a dioxin-bleaching pulp mill from locating in West Virginia in the mid to late 90s, the Director of Region III of the US EPA agreed with our position - and was shown the door. More recently, Jack Spadaro, an engineer with 25 years of mining experience who worked for the Mine Health Safety Administration in West Virginia, was given a demotion and relocated away from his West Virginia home (he decided to retire instead). And so it goes. If a person wants to keep his job, he learns very quickly to keep his head down and his mouth shut.

Many people within those agencies went to work with good intentions only to find that their hands are tied by dirty politics. Budgets for these agencies are set by the Legislature - many of whose members receive handsome political contributions from the industry and other polluters who help them get elected time and time again. Its a vicious circle. Thats one reason why OVEC has been working hard to get public funding of elections of our legislators. While it wouldnt keep money out of politics entirely, it could help decrease the overall influence of big special interests. A publicly funded legislator would have the freedom to vote his/her conscience. In addition, any ordinary citizen who has a penchant for politics could qualify for public funds if he/she meets the public trust requirements. Candidates would run on the merit of their ideas instead of who has the biggest "war" chest.

Thanks again for your donation and support!

Most sincerely,
Janet Keating, Co-Director


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