Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 30, 1972 · Page 20
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 20

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 30, 1972
Page 20
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Page 20 article text (OCR)

St. Albans in Position These are some of the many positions assumed by participants in a yoga class being given at the St. Albans YMCA. The class began last week. Yoga is a series of exercises to attain mental and physical control and well-being. (Photos by Lewis Raines) Charlrstnn, W. Ya., July 30, 3S72 ECOND RONT IB" Strip Mining Study Goes Ignored A \^ */ ^ Just Too Much Dumb Always on Sunday ByB.S.Palausky The Joint Committee on and Finance so far Iras totally ignored the 1972 West Virginia Legislature's directive to continue the committee's unfinished strip mining -study for a second year. For practical purposes, the study stopped with completion of the fact-finding phase when the Standford Research Institute report was submitted to the legislature in mid-February. The 180-page Stanford report, on which the joint committee spent $77,000 is gathering dust. Its information supposedly was to be- By Herb Little The Associated Press Government Statehouse Note Book LITTLE come the basis for a joint committee report giving the committee's conclusions on the adequacy of the 1971 West Virginia surface mining law and what, if any, changes are needed. But the committee has yet to take a first step toward drawing up conclusions and recommendations. The subject hasn't even been on the agenda for any monthly meetings of the 14-member interim committee, five of whose members are lame ducks. Questioning of legislators yields varied private explanations of the standstill: BOTH PARTIES are reluctant to fire up the controversy during a campaign; other matters are more pressing: regulations implementing the 1971 act have been in effect only three months and, still ensnarled in litigation, haven't had a chance to demonstrate their worth. Whatever the validity of the ascribed reasons, there's no question about the standstill. When the 1971 legislature met, Secretary of State John D. Rockefeller IV--now the Democratic nominee for governor- was urging it to outlaw the strip mining of coal. Abolition never had a chance. But the 1971 session did pass amendments to the 1967 surface mining control law that were so extensive that they in effect comprised a whole new law. At ihe same time the lawmakers di- rected the joint committee to conduct a between-sessions study of strip mining. The resolution called for the committee to report its findings and conclusions, "together with drafts of proposed legislation necessary," to the legis ature by Jan. 1, 1972. THE COMMITTEE hired Stanford Research Institute to conduct the fact-finding phase of the study. Stanford's final report wasn't submitted until six weeks after the Jan. 1 deadline for the committee's own report. In what remained i»f the 1972 regular session, no effort was made to carry the project farther. But at the end of the session last March the lawmakers adopted a resolution continuing the committee study another year, along with several other unfinished interim studies. The resolution calls for committee "findings, conclusions, recommendations, and any proposed drafts of legislation" to be reported to the 1973 regular session. The joint committee is the legislature's main between-sessions study group. By viture of being legislative presiding officers, Senate President Hans McCourt, D-Webster, and House Speaker Lewis N. McManus, D-Raleigh, are the committee co-chairmen. Among its 14 members (10 Democrats and four Republicans), the only advocate of outright abolition of strip mining is House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert M. Steptoe, D-Berkeley. Steptoe is a lame duck, having lost in his primary bid for nomination for a state senate seat. Court suit brought by eight strip mining companies. IN THE SUIT, the strippers are challenging the constitutionality of the new law and regulations. Pending settlement of that issue, they have been granted a temporary injunction. It prohibits the state from requiring the eight companies, whose stripmining permits were issued before the new regulations took effect, to convert their permits to compliance with the more stringent new requirements. Brotherton questioned whether valid conclusions about, the effectiveness of the regulations can be drawn until there ,s some accumulated experience on how they work, unfettered by litigation. Del. Warren R. McGraw, D-Wyoming, not a joint committee member but one of the legislature's most outspoken foes of strip mining, said: "This issue has suddenly become a dead issue with the legislature. It's not a dead issue with the people." McGraw's view is that a majority in the legislature has "no intention of doing anything to draw attention to the strip mining issue" and is "more concerned about keeping quiet about issues that might have some adverse political impact." Although nothing has happened to indicate the joint committee may soon resume serious work on the strip mining study, Brotherlon said: "Something ought to be done. We spent all that money and it shouldn't just be left hanging there." This area's drug abuse problem, despite a few glimmers of hope, is still essentially bad. The supply on the streets is still plentiful. So far, no major supplier or pusher has been put out of business. Tlie glimmers of hope occur when one hears that now and then an occasional user quits voluntarily on the grounds that it is "dumb" "a bummer," or "nowhere." But the hope is battered immediately with the information that younger and younger--J 5 years and under--children are obtaining and trying the drugs on for size or kicks or to just see what it is really like. The best thing that could happen right about now is for all of our youngsters to got the word clear and strong that drug addiction is not only dumb but a tragic waste on a gigantic scale. Who would dare put a price tag on a good mind in a good body? · THINGS ARE FINALLY pretty well jelling in the areas of making arrangements for treatment and counseling of drug abuse victims. This is good. It would be even better if there was never a need for them. In fact, if they go Committee Facing Task of Forming Democrats' 'People First' Platform MCMANUS ACKNOWLEDGED . the committee hasn't done anything on strip mining since the regular session ended, but said: "I think we. need to puruse what the joint committee is supposed to pursue and make recommendations. The degree of slope is one of the critical problems pointed out in the Stanford Report." The 1971 act restricts bench width-that is, the width of a strip-mining cut on a mountain-side--according to the degree of slope. The steeper the slope, the narrower the permissible bench width. The Stanford Report said the 107! act's slope-bench width standards "virtually guarantee landslides under certain conui- tions of slope." Senate Majority Loader William T. Brotherton Jr., D-Kanawha, a joint committee member, says he thinks the chief reason for inactivity on the study i? that members feel "there hasn't been enough time to see whether the regulations are going to work or not." Although the new law itself took effect in March. 1971, the Reclamation Commission didn't complete regulations implementing it until a" year later. The regulations supposedly took effect May 1, hut their effectiveness has been diluted by a Xanawha County Circuit By Betty Mills The AxKncinferl Press Four members of the platform committee of the state Democratic party were assigned the task Saturday of culling nearly. 11 hours of testimony and discussion into "an issue-oriented platform that will address itself directly to the agenda for the next Democratic administration," according to Jack Canfield, committee chairman. "People First" is the theme for the platform document, Canfield said, which will be written by the four-member drafting committee during the next week and made public by Aug. 11. Appointed to the drafting committee were state Sen. Robert Nelson, D-Cabell, Charles H. Damron of Lenore, Mrs. Pat Siunnier Art Show Winners Announced Rn.ialin Camp Johnson's mixed media work, "Woods", won the best of show award at the Chemical City Summer Art Show in South Charleston. The show, which opens to the public at 3 p.m. today at the South Charleston Recreation Center on Third Avenue, was judged by Miss Joanne L. Seltzer of New York City. Other first place winners included Velda Anderson, for her work in oils; Manuel Laskin, mixed media; Terry Philips, graphics; Frankie Whealer, watercolors; Rosalie Camp Johnson, crafts; Diane Edwards, students; Michael Basham, junior high students; and Ruth Trumbo, achievement award. NELSON BARKER R. Hamilton of Oak Hill, and Lawrence Barker of Dunbar. Canfield said the drafting committee was directed to write platform sections dealing with jobs, education, the environment, transportation, social issues, tion and services to the people. HE DECLINED to be more specific about platform planks, saying the drafting committee had "some questions left to answer" and would be doing research on issues not covered in the two sessions here Friday and Saturday. The platform committee scheduled its next meeting for Aug. 13, at which time each plank of the document will be voted on in a public session, Canfield said. The committee agreed to abide by the procedure of the Democratic National Convention on all parliamentary matters, including the presentation of minority planks if 10 per cent of the com mil tee demands it. Canfield said minority planks could also be presented from the floor at the stale party convention Aug. 19. At a state Democratic executive committee session Saturday afternoon, the appointment of two college students to the platform committee was approved. The action gave Todd Kaufman of Charleston, a student at Tufts University, and Pam Shuman of Wellsburg, a student at West Liberty State College, full voting rights in committee meetings. +* CANFIELD SAID the two days of platform committee sessions, an open hearing Friday night and a closed-door "work session" Saturday, were characterized by a "lot of debate, particularly on surface mining." "But it was all to the point," Canfield said, "There was no animosity expressed." The party's standard-bearer in November's gubernatorial election, John D. Rockefeller IV, is a firm advocate of the abolition of strip mining. Spokesman on both sides of the abolition issue gave their views at the Friday night hearing. Canfield said the two college students "made significant contributions, surprisingly on some issues involving taxation." "Their suggestions ?,re going to be included in the draft. I'm sure," Canfield said. unused forever, the money, spent in providing them would still not be wasted. The whole spent in the entire state would be well worth it if one person could be dragged out of the living hell of drug addiction. Also, the same facilities could be put to use for the treatment of alcholoics. It would IK morn humane to treat that sickness in such centers rather than the customary jails or mental hospitals. The basic causes for both drug addiction and alcoholism are within the subject. When potential abusers can pause long enough to ask themselves, "Do I need this kind of life?" and answer "No," and slick to it; they are nearly out of Ihe woods. Eventually, when the faddism of the drug culture wears out and when most of the addicts get hooked, the suppliers and pushers might possibly find themselves working at more honest and less deadly jobs. But first of all, we are going to have to see a drastic reduction in the supply of dumb around here. It take an awfully long time. »·· SOME GUY called me the other day and accused me of being a poor Christ i a n . He may be right. I haven't ever killed a heathen. Another fellow stopped me on Capitol Street to gloat about a statewide poll t h a t indicates the majority 'of West Virginians want to have the death penalty reinstated. After I told him I wasn't surprised, I was taken aback by my own urge to blurt, "They should all be taken out and shoot." I guess bloodthirsty might just be contagious. I certainly hope not. · I'M GETTING OUT of the Mr. Nice business for these two weeks. Right. I'm taking a total vacation. I plan to sit around in my underwear and do a little careful drinking and be just as nasty as I can. Vacations are for getting out of ruts and I've been so nice for so many years I find I am turning my own stomach. If you \vant to witness a real display of nasty, just look me up during these two weeks. I'll gel around to you as soon as I finish putting a noticeable lump on Terry Marchal's head. In the meantime while I'm out of the nice business, I invited each and every one nf you to try it on for size. You probably wouldn't like it, b u t . . . State Interstate Delav Is Feared «/' WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. - J.I 1 !--Continued diversion of Federal Highway Trust Fund money to such things as mass transit could delay completion of West Virginia's Interstate highway system. State Highway Commissioner William S. Ritchie said here Saturday. He was one of four panelists appearing on a program of the midsummer convention of the Contractors Association of West Virginia. Continued diversion could also, he said, mean the upgrading of the two-lane West Virginia Turnpike to Interstate status could tike 10-15 years instead of the three years currently anticipated.

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