(03/17/2009)
POWERLINE TAX WILL GO TO STATE COFFERS

By Bob Weaver

During most of the 20th century, the production of toxic waste by the extractors of West Virginia's natural resources, the formula has been pretty simple - take, dump, pump and abandon.

If caught and fined, it's been considered the price of doing business, with government watchdogs generally reducing the fines to pennies on the dollar, after which the pay-out is drug out for years in court.

Most have forgotten the abandoning of hundreds of strip and underground mines in the state, which will cost the taxpayers multi-millions of dollars more to stabilize or reclaim in the years to come.

Most West Virginians turn their heads over the destruction of their environment, because jobs depend on coal and mineral extraction, and West Virginia's government keeps afloat on the taxes the industries pay.

Right now consumers are facing record power hikes, the largest proposed utility bill increase in West Virginia history at 43%.

Right now West Virginians are facing an even greater amount of toxic emission with increased production of electricity near the coal fields.

Gov. Joe Manchin is currently making a big-to-do about adding a $135 million tax on the proposed behemoth PATH power line that will cross the state, including our region.

The lines will provide electricity to much of the northeast corridor from the coal-burning power plants in the state.

The press statements imply the tax will help West Virginians with their electric bills.

Wrong.

The money, as usual, will mostly go into state government coffers, not relief for consumer pocketbooks.

Furthermore, taxes levied against the powerlines will be cost-shifted to consumers,

For details of the smoke and mirrors, read Bill Howley's calhounpowerline.wordpress.com


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