Supreme Court inaction should spur in-state action - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Supreme Court inaction should spur in-state action

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  • Man and woman arrested for making meth with babies in the house

    Man and woman arrested for making meth with babies in the house

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:37 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:37:47 GMT
    Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department arrested two people Monday night, when it was discovered they were making meth with 2 babies in the house. Deputy Horn told us the children are 7 and 18 months old.
    Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department arrested two people Monday night, when it was discovered they were making meth with 2 babies in the house. Deputy Horn told us the children are 7 and 18 months old.
  • How long should delays last as the Northbound lanes close at the East River Mountain Tunnel?

    How long should delays last as the Northbound lanes close at the East River Mountain Tunnel?

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:19:48 GMT
    Officials warn drivers to expect heavy delays Tuesday night and Wednesday night as the Northbound lanes of I-77 at the East River Mountain Tunnel close down for repairs.
    Officials warn drivers to expect heavy delays Tuesday night and Wednesday night as the Northbound lanes of I-77 at the East River Mountain Tunnel close down for repairs.
  • Will parking be an issue for Saints fans as the State Fair of West Virginia comes to town?

    Will parking be an issue for Saints fans as the State Fair of West Virginia comes to town?

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:19:19 GMT
    Local New Orleans Saints fans continue to watch and enjoy their beloved team as they continue to practice in our area. But as the State Fair of West Virginia grows closer and closer, some are concerned if parking will soon be an issue.
    Local New Orleans Saints fans continue to watch and enjoy their beloved team as they continue to practice in our area. But as the State Fair of West Virginia grows closer and closer, some are concerned if parking will soon be an issue.
  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Wider lens necessary for effective education

    Wider lens necessary for effective education

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:00:24 GMT
    We say it often, but if West Virginia is going to reach its enormous potential, we will need a dynamic, robust educational system that challenges and prepares our people for the rigors of life in the 21st century.
    We say it often, but if West Virginia is going to reach its enormous potential, we will need a dynamic, robust educational system that challenges and prepares our people for the rigors of life in the 21st century.
  • Can we be realistic on roads?

    Can we be realistic on roads?

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:00:54 GMT
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
  • Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Friday, July 11 2014 10:46 AM EDT2014-07-11 14:46:55 GMT
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week it will not review a case involving the Arch Coal Spruce No. 1 mountaintop removal mine. This case has been in the courts for years, after the Environmental Protection Agency revoked part of a permit that had already been issued for the mine. 

Throughout the process, each side has claimed victory, but the decision this week likely puts an end to what has been a rather peculiar affair. To recap, the EPA approved what would have been the state's largest mountaintop removal mine, but later revoked the permits for what the agency claimed were environmental reasons. Some celebrated the decision, claiming the EPA was doing the right thing. Others questioned the legitimacy of the move, deriding the EPA for pulling an "end-around" on Congress and launching what would be a major salvo in the so-called war on coal. 

By all accounts, Arch was doing what it was supposed to do from a regulatory standpoint, yet the company got blindsided by a rule change because coal is unpopular with some in Washington, D.C. That's unfair, but the question is now academic. The court has taken a pass and we can only presume investors will be even less inclined to do business in West Virginia. Risk is part of the process, but when the game is changed at halftime, it leaves far too many entrepreneurs on the sidelines. 

This decision just further proves two things. 

Our state has to embrace industries other than those that harvest natural resources. We are blessed with coal, natural gas and timber, but our economy remains stagnant. Many of our best and brightest are forced to go to Charlotte, Pittsburgh or Columbus to earn a living. For years, our elected leaders were immune to this fact because state coffers were flush with money from gambling and severance taxes. As we saw during the most recent budget process, those heady days are in our past. 

The U.S. Supreme Court decision is a reminder that West Virginia needs an intermediary court for a guaranteed right of appeal. This idea has been swatted away by the current makeup of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, who claim it's unnecessary, but the State Supreme Court strikes fear in the hearts of both business and investors alike.

Now is the time to develop a tax code that does not penalize investment, to ensure our courts put fairness over ideology and make sure our young people are prepared for life in a global economy. There will be much hand-wringing about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision from the folks in Charleston. They will shake their fists at the EPA and the White House. Their talk is mostly cheap, so we will hear plenty of it. Just as the song goes, we'd prefer to see a little less conversation and a little more action to create a better West Virginia.