Earl Ray Tomblin Wants to be Governor
[I wrote this about two years ago, when I found out that Tomblin was boasting to mountaintop removal opponents that he was going to be the next governor.]
Earl Ray Tomblin is the President of West Virginia’s State Senate and he wants to be governor. Tellingly, for 35 years he has represented Logan County, arguably the most corrupt county in the nation. Logan’s failing sunshine review grade and the latest vote buying scandal only scratch the surface.
More damaging to the integrity of Logan is the vast power held by the mountaintop removal industry, which owns most of the county’s land and all of its public officials: including Tomblin. Just last year, Massey CEO Don Blankenship gave $300,000 in “philanthropy” to Logan in appreciation of the politicians who do his bidding.
As to be expected in an area where Massey Energy holds sway, Logan County is an environmental wasteland. Mountaintop removal has permanently destroyed a vast acreage of temperate rainforest. Acid mine drainage chokes every stream.
And where there is environmental degradation there is harm to people. Click here to see one example from Logan County. Buffalo Creek would be another example. So would the disastrous floods just in the last decade. Then there is the more subtle damage. When I lived in Logan County, I knew five children who had to have their gall bladders removed. Cancer rates are ridiculously high.
Also to be expected where a low-wage, non-union, industry predominates is extreme poverty and a drug culture. The poverty in Logan is almost reminiscent of the “third world.” The family that lived across from me had to use the oven of their electric range stove as a heater. And that was before they were evicted. Scores have little choice but to steal in order to survive. Others enter the dangerous world of drug dealing, where they find a large consumer base begging to escape the reality mountaintop removal advocates have created.
Thus the need for large jails, like the one recently built on a mountaintop removal site which is now the “Earl Ray Tomblin Industrial Park.” The only “industry” at the “park,” the jail is reached via the “Earl Ray Tomblin Road.”
Earl Ray is already a destructive force in West Virginia. If he becomes governor, which he has assured mountaintop removal opponents he will, it is doubtful that the “Mountain” state will ever recover.
As one coalfield resident remarked: “It is going from bad to worse.”