days, all for the love of coal. Protesters in the state Capitol
insisted that the two-time Governor could arrest the violent surface
mining of Coal River Mountain, situated in the South-West of the state
if he wanted to. However, the only thing arrested were the protesters.
Our friend and fellow videographer, "FluxRostrum" posted this video today showing local and student activists squatting at the Governor's with a burning desire to speak truth to power.
has said that he does not have the authority to overstep the federally
granted rights of the out-of-state corporations who are conducting the
surface mining. A legal opinion called Dillon's Law, which instituted the rights of property owners (read "corporations") over the right of individuals (read "communities"),
provides the necessary veil behind which the Governor can defend
himself. However, the opinon can be challenged and that would be a
strong statement from the pro-death penalty, anti-choice Democratic
Governor of West Virginia for his constituents. Where the Governor's
pro-corporate cards may be more apparent is in the lack of
prosecution of errant coal and drug companies whose accidents have often
cost local communities their survivability and have compromised the
health of its residents.
West Virginia residents concerned with
demanding local rights within their state may have to model themselves
after other communities seeking to dominate local control. In Spokane,
WA, a town under the oligarchical control of a few families, a nexus of
organization have created Envision Spokane. Guided by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), Envision Spokane has placed an initiative on their November ballot calling for a community bill of rights that could challenge Dillon's Law.
Speaking at the 2009 Bioneers, CELDF spokesperson Breean Beggs
said, "The game is up all over the country." It is perhaps time for
West Virginia communities to consider building its own coalition
throughout the hallows.