Good Friday Morning!
It’s a weird time to be working in and around West Virginia. Transformation is everywhere, some good, some not. There is a lot of money out there looking at how to best use, reuse, or reclaim abandoned mines and “brownfield” industrial sites, whether through the ARC Power Grants, or the “Abandoned Mine Land Fund”. A cottage industry in trying to make the best of a terrible environmental legacy.
Right on the heels of that, I’m hearing about the legislature working to reduce the coal severance tax in West Virginia. The reason we have a severance tax is to try and put some funds into the common good from the extraction of these resources. In classic thought, that severance tax should be set high enough to account for any “bads” that come from the extraction as well - that it should help to cover environmental repair, long term health coverage for people impacted by the industry, and put funds into investments for the future after the industry is gone. Funny to look around and see all the bads, few investments, and now we are cutting severance. Maybe we should think about setting it up like Alaska - those folks get $2,000 a year from the state out of their severance revenues. At least then some of those funds would end up back in our local economy.
One way or the other, these industries have, are, and will transform this place, for better and worse, and what we should be thinking about is what that transformation looks like in the long term, not the short term.
Today’s image from a former mine site, stuck in a long term state of almost transition. The seasons coming and going over these briery fields, waiting for the next thing.
Trans. Former. - West Virginia
p.s. Never let it be said that y’all don’t surprise me sometimes. Last weeks photo (Beautiful, In Its Way) went viral in a way that I never would have guessed. Sometimes, I get a solid reminder that other folks are reading and watching - thank you for that.