Those poor Methodists. First Gov. Underwood scolded them for daring to demonstrate their care for God's creation by approving a resolution that called for a mountaintop removal moratorium. Then he said they shared blame for a bomb threat that shut down the Capitol for several hours, because the nut who sent the threat had apparently read their resolution.On top of all that, they get dissed by the Daily Mail, which, while calling Underwood's latest statement "weirdly hotblooded," also took time to chastize the Methodists yet again for the resolution, which it said was "not thoughtful."The Methodists want mountaintop removal mines and the subsequent valley fills halted until a scientific study is completed to determine the effect on human life and the environment. That sounds like a much more thoughtful stance than going ahead with the practice on a monumental scale without really knowing what the effects will be.And how much thought did Underwood give before he attacked the Methodists? He did try to backtrack the next day. He said he didn't blame all Methodists - who do vote, after all - just "activists in the church hierarchy who pushed for official approval of a resolution that was oversimplified, unnecessary and divisive."
Perhaps Underwood should take his own advice. He said church leaders "must be wary of making public statements that could incite an unstable person to threaten violence." I bet Underwood's unabashed support of mountaintop removal - support so strong he was willing to criticize his own church for taking an opposing view - did much more to incite the author of the bomb threat than did the Methodists' thoughtful and eloquent resolution. Speaking of mountaintop removal, coal companies in Kentucky are tearing down that state's highest mountain, proving once more that nothing is more sacred to King Coal than profit. Does anyone doubt that coal companies would blast apart Spruce Knob and pile the refuse on Dolly Sods if they could make a few million dollars?The company in Kentucky is promising to leave the peak of Black Mountain. I'm sure the view from the top will be breathtaking. Apparently the illegally appointed director of the state Division of Environmental Protection thinks the taxpayers of West Virginia owe him a garage to store an extra car he owns.Michael Miano started out storing his car at the state's airplane hangar at Yeager Airport. Then he moved it to DEP's parking lot in Nitro, and put a cover over it. After reporter Fanny Seiler asked questions about the car, DEP Administration Director Randy Huffman called the Ethics Commission and was told that it could be a technical violation of the state's weak ethics law and that Miano should move the car, which he is apparently going to do.It may not seem like a huge deal to tuck a car in the corner of the state's hangar or leave it sitting on a state parking lot. But regular working folks at the division probably couldn't get away with it. The few who could afford a spare car would have to pay to store it, or leave it in their own driveways.This is yet another example of how Miano thinks rules don't apply to him. He continues, for example, to cling to the absurd notion that his appointment is legal.
Federal law prohibits people who have worked in a regulated industry from "having or sharing" authority over state water pollution programs until they have been out of the industry for at least two years.This is very clear: Miano was employed by a regulated industry (coal) for more than two decades. He did not leave that employment until he was laid off in late 1997. The director of DEP, without question, has and shares authority over the state's water pollution program.Miano's appointment is illegal. The state should concede that lawsuits brought to force his removal are valid, and remove him.Then the question of where he stores his car would be moot. Radmacher is the Gazette's editorial page editor.