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Editorial: Blame game

GOV. Cecil Underwood's actions in the ongoing debate over mountaintop removal mining are growing progressively weirder.

It was bad when he told his own United Methodist Church to mind its own business after church delegates approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on hilltop decapitation.

But now the governor has sunk to a new low by saying Methodists share blame for a July bomb threat at the state Capitol because the threatening note contained words akin to those in the Methodist resolution.

"I think the church has to take responsibility partly for the bomb threat," Underwood said. "The language in the resolution was similar to language in the bomb threat letter."

Unbelievable. Just because some kook mimicked the church resolution doesn't mean the church is at fault. If the kook had copied a line from the GOP platform, would that mean Republicans were to blame?

The bomb threat was written by a disturbed individual.

State Police aren't even sure the controversial mining technique is what actually set the person off. The Underwood administration seized on that because it allowed State Police to treat critics of the practice like criminals.

And now the governor blames the Methodists, of all people, because they took a stand protecting nature and the beauty of this state from the greed of out-of-state coal operators who see mountains as "worthless piles of dirt" standing between them and their coal.

Perhaps the disturbed individual who sent the threat wouldn't have felt the need if the governor were not so deep in bed with the coal industry that he cannot understand why West Virginians are disturbed by the mauling of their hills.

The anger and frustration behind this act might not have built to such high levels if Underwood hadn't signed a bill abetting mountaintop removal - and stacked a study panel on the issue with coal sympathizers - and criticized members of his own church for taking a stance on it.

We cannot believe that Underwood is so blinded by his devotion to coal that he would turn his back on his own church, and then all but accuse it of complicity in a bomb threat, all because the church disagrees with him on a vital public issue.

That's absurd and despicable.


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