As I’m sure you’re now aware, a protestor with the environmental advocacy group Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS), locked himself to a barrel of contaminated water on the Governor’s Mansion steps yesterday morning.
RAMPS was protesting the contamination of the Coal River watershed by nearby coal slurry ponds, and demanded a meeting with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
That meeting didn’t occur, but it took emergency personnel more than two hours to remove the protestor from the premises (you can click here to see a compilation of my tweets from the event).
Speaking of tweets, there was some argument on Twitter yesterday regarding my coverage of the protest.
While some appreciated the up-to-the-minute updates, others suggested I should be more focused on why the protest was occurring, rather than how. As my editor Brad McElhinny writes in this blog post, that argument is creating a false dichotomy. An excerpt:
I wanted to know what was happening in the moment. For sure it was a spectacle, it was in about as prominent a location as you could get in West Virginia, and it very well could have been a public safety issue. I was glad to be getting those updates on Twitter. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for reflective stories about some of the issues that were raised.
In other news…
- West Virginia’s venture capital fund investments topped $14.5 million at the beginning of the 2014 budget year, which began in July. As Dave reports, that’s about $2.5 million more than last budget year.
- Earlier this week, the Supreme Court clerk Rory Perry said justices were on track to releasing more than 1,300 written decisions this year, as a result of new appellate rules adopted in 2010. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and West Virginian Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, prominent lobbying groups who once opposed the rule changes, are now split on the issue. The Chamber thinks the new rules have guaranteed all state residents an automatic right to appeal, while WVCALA still wants the state to establish an intermediary appellate court.
- Eric Erye over at the Charleston Gazette reports that federal investigators are looking into a Division of Highways contract with MoTrim Inc., which supplies mower parts for highway crews.
- Gov. Tomblin is in Florida, while 19 lawmakers are in North Dakota.
- The West Virginia Racing Commission has adopted its first animal cruelty policy, despite opposition from the West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association
- If you’re planning on taking a trip before the end of summer, the Attorney General’s Office has released this handy map of places you can pack heat with a West Virginia concealed weapons license.