CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My great grandmother Mom Wilkinson advised as I began dating, "Don't pay a lick of attention to what those boys say. You watch how they treat their grandmothers."
We've heard a lot from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's spin doctors recently. Now it's time to pay attention to his actual record.
While Manchin was governor, after the deadly explosion at the Bayer Crop Science plant in 2008 in Institute, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board proposed a "Hazardous Chemical Release Prevention Program" to the state.
The program was shelved, due to a mysterious lack of political will. In West Virginia, the agency heads serve at the "will and pleasure" of the governor.
While governor, Manchin also took the unprecedented action of filing a "friend of the court" brief to request the state Supreme Court to consider overturning a decision against DuPont for nearly $200 million.
Around 8,000 Harrison County citizens successfully won a class action suit that identified arsenic, cadmium and lead as the major toxins found to have leaked from an operation permitted by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
A jury not only convicted DuPont of wanton, willful and reckless conduct, Harrison County Circuit Court Chief Judge Thomas A. Bedell also ordered DuPont to pay $196.2 million in punitive damages. Evidence presented in the case convinced Bedell to set aside an additional $130 million for medical monitoring for the members of the community of Spelter for their exposure to the toxins leached from that dump.
Lawyer Michael Papantonio blasted Manchin's attempt to intervene, stating, "This just further delineates how badly the deck is stacked in West Virginia against people trying to recover when they're taking on DuPont. It's stacked against people who have been wronged by corporate America."