Solutions & Resolutions: FOR WV Teachers and all Public Employees

On February 18, 2018, Mountain Party leaders passed a Resolution* supporting all teachers, school service personnel and public employees who are fed up with low pay and ever increasing health insurance costs. The Mountain Party further recognizes that these problems persisted even prior to the current GOP control of West Virginia’s statehouse and Executive branch.

Back in 2014, Mountain Party leaders passed a resolution supporting full collective bargaining rights for all Public Employees, including the right to strike. We found it necessary to do so because Statehouse Democratic leaders in the majority under Governors Tomblin and Manchin for too long had also neglected to properly pay teachers or fix ever-growing PEIA problems. Manchin did he did propose and get a small raise, but he froze all public employee wages before Earl Ray was elected governor.

But hey, come to think of it, if ANY past WV governor really respected public educators, he would have granted teachers the right-to-strike by Executive Order! And even if current state lawmakers manage to pass an acceptable pay raise this year, the same problems will continue to persist. That’s because the leaders of both current “ruling” Parties in West Virginia will NEVER pass right-to strike  legislation just like they NEVER tax major corporations in accordance with what they extract from the State.

Instead, BOTH “D’s” and “R’s” have historically balanced the State budget by unfairly squeezing our poor and working class through regressive taxes like our General Sales Tax scheme.

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which basically cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. In 2016 WV lawmakers had already cut severance taxes on coal by $50 million a year. This session, WV lawmakers are now considering the elimination of corporate business and inventory taxes, as proposed by a Governor who stands to personally gain millions through his many coal operations here.

Mountain Party leaders believe that to keep current and future lawmakers focused on meeting the needs of all of West Virginia’s struggling Public Employees, it is critical to find, and promote truly progressive candidates. Including those who will not only introduce, but push hard for legislation that will lawfully grant the right for all Public Educators the right to strike.

shortlink: http://www.mountainpartywv.com/?p=2569&preview=true

Contact:
Tom Rhule
Communication Director
304 989 1629


*WHEREAS the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA, Affiliate of the Green Party of the United States, stands for economic justice for all Americans, including the right to bargain collectively for wages, benefits, working conditions, and the right to engage in peaceful job actions,

BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA stands in solidarity with the sisters and brothers of organized labor in West Virginia and the West Virginia AF of L-CIO representing teachers, service personnel, state employees, police, and emergency first responders in their calls to the West Virginia State Legislature to immediately send to the Governor bills providing for meaningful pay increases for these persons and a bills assuring the financial soundness and the promised coverages and indemnities of the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency.
BE IT RESOLVED that the MOUNTAIN PARTY of WEST VIRGINIA stands in solidarity with all unions and crafts, and encourages these sisters and brothers of the affected professions to obtain the ends so described in this resolution.

RESOLVED: FEBRUARY 18, 2018.

Author & Sponsor: Dan Lutz, Mountain Party State Executive Committee Chair, District 16

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Antero’s Carbon Footprint

The following is a copy of a WV Mountain Party, Environmental Justice Committee member Barbara Daniel’s testimony at the November 28, EPA hearing on repeal of the Clean Power Plan held in Charleston, WV:

West Virginia has perfect geothermal potential. But unless we develop that option to its full potential, natural gas is an integral part of power generation. In 2015, however, scientists Paulson and Tinney conducted a field study.  Besides revealing extensive greenhouse gas emissions, they found that serious health impacts occur at every stage of gas development.

Gas production is further related to this hearing due to Antero’s frack-waste treatment facility in Doddridge County. Using a device called the “thermal oxidizer”, in just 8 hours, this stationary, energy-related emitter dumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than a diesel-powered tractor-trailer hauling a load 3000-miles.

Burning eleven million BTUs of gas hourly, that single thermal oxidizer alone  produces 1,287 pounds of CO2 every hour. Which is over seventy percent of WV’s entire carbon footprint limit under the Clean Power Plan.

According to the WV DEP, who issued the permit, that oxidizer will burn continually for the next 25 years. So any WV Clean Power Plan “carbon trading” scheme attempting to trade CO2 from coal fired plants to develop natural gas would amount to yet another deadly loophole for the Natural Gas industry!

The WV DEP’s air quality permit also states that the Antero facility releases many unburned poisonous vapors which are usually greenhouse gases as well. Additionally it says 600 diesel-trucks are offloading heavy frack waste every day at that facility, each generating enormous amounts of toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide. Thus Antero’s frack waste operation in Doddridge County undoubtedly represents a significant, stationary source of heat-trapping gases.

Had it not been for the many generous gifts and other inducements given by the gas industry to politicians, the present fracking “war on coal would never have occurred. The deadly result of those inducements are gas-and-oil-field exemptions from all the seven major federal environmental laws–like the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Superfund Law–and WV has adopted the most egregious exemption of all.

By mirroring the EPA’s RCRA exemption, WV criminally classifies radioactive and toxic frack brine as “non-hazardous”.  Chemicals at levels found in in this waste are known to cause such illnesses as kidney and liver disease and cancer. The radioactive portion, radium 226, which is also present in frack waste at dangerous concentrations, accumulates in our bones, causing bone cancer and more.

But because so much frack waste is created that there is no safe place for its disposal, it has been legally regarded as only “brine” and is used to deice WV roads.

Photo Credit: FrackCheckWV.net

From there it can spread into water supplies and homes.  Worst of all, this waste is now being dumped directly into our water sources as “storm water”. By law, practically anything bearing a storm water label can contain toxic compounds which have been exempted as “non-hazardous”.

By repealing carbon rules rather than closing regulatory loopholes, politicians are only leaving the door open for huge politically powerful fracking companies like Antero to continue polluting as they choose.

Sources for most of these statements is on the WV Mountain Party website (mountainpartywv.com/dumping facts)   Facts for the referenced Antero frack recycling facility are sourced directly from the WV DEP website under “Air Quality Permits.” 

Barbara Daniels is an active member of the Environmental Justice Committee for the WV Mountain Party

 


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Profiles in Cruelty

    On Thursday (Oct. 26, 2017,) after most all of WV’s mainstream media had shut down for the day, the US House of Representatives passed the proposed Budget Bill (HCR 71; vote #589). Five representatives did not vote.

   This House legislation sets the United States budget for 2018 and subsequent years through 2027. It cuts spending for Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, Senior Services, CHIP Programs, Planned Parenthood, Veterans’ Services, SNAP, Agricultural Programs, workplace safety (OSHA), Coal Mine Safety, Consumer Products Safety, National Parks, air and water pollution controls, just to name a few.
   Included are reductions in the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and the corporations, many of which are not paying taxes anyway. HCR 71 also eliminates all deductions for state and local taxes paid, which hits working Americans hardest.
   During  the same  period, experts estimate the proposed tax cuts for the rich will increase our National Debt by a whoppin’ 1.5 TRILLION bucks, to $25 TRILLION. DESPITE having been by the same Representatives who mercilessly attacked the previous administration’s deficit spending as “irresponsible” and “bankrupting the nation.”
   West Virginia Representatives voted:
  • David McKinley  (WV 1st)     AYE
  • Alex X. Mooney  (WV 2nd)    AYE
  • Evan Jenkins      (WV 3rd)    AYE
    Had they instead voted NAY on this measure, HCR 71 would have been defeated 213 for 215 against.  Despite Trump’s declaration yesterday that it is a National Health Emergency, HCR 71 did NOT include one cent in funding to fight the OPIOD CRISIS.
    Since 2006, W.Va. candidates have reportedly snagged $250K in donations from pharma groups.
   The attitude of the 115th Congress appears to be that the public will tolerate gradual elimination of “people programs” which assist the defenseless and powerless.
Danny Lutz
Chair Economic Justice Committee
16th District State Executive Committee
Mountain Party of West Virginia

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