Posted by: The West Virginia Mountain Party
Monday May 2nd, 20011
Bob Henry Baber won the Mountain Party nomination for West Virginia governor on Sunday by acclamation at its convention held Sunday afternoon in Sutton at the Town Square Cafe. The other party candidate, Jesse Johnson, withdrew his name from consideration and solidly endorsed Baber as the party’s nominee just prior to the vote.
“The Mountain Party believes West Virginia’s future lies in sustainable energy jobs and a prompt, but planned, transition from the final decades of coal, and utilizing the new Marcellus shale gas rush as the ‘fuel’ to create a Green Revolution that will set the state’s coarse for the rest of this century. Of course, protecting both the environment and jobs has been and will be the centerpiece of my campaign.”
At the convention Baber personalized the issues when he spoke about his 30-acre farm in Greenbrier County. “I knew we didn’t own the mineral rights, but I was shocked when I bought the farm in 1983 from my grandmother and found out just how vulnerable the property is to outside corporate exploitation,” Baber said. “The one-hundred-year-old deed reads like an environmental blank check made out to the mineral and gas owners. The surface rights, including timber and water and topsoil, are secondary. It seems all my grandparents bought was the air.”
Baber then showed Mountain Party members a certified letter sent by the Dawson Geophysical Company, dated April 22, 2011, seeking to conduct seismic tests on behalf of Bluestone Resource LLC. “It’s shocking to me that with 300,000 acres of corporately held land surrounding me, I cannot legally prevent their intrusion onto my ancestral homeplace.”
Fracking is emerging as one of the most important issues in West Virginia, Baber stated. “We’ve got to protect the common land owners of West Virginia and create legislation to do so immediately. “Vowing to chain himself to his own gate to protect his land, water and house, Baber recalled the infamous Widow Combs incident in Kentucky when she was hauled to jail for blocking the bulldozers who eventually stripped her land against her will.
A number of Mountain party members offered to support Baber should things come to that. “The Mountain Party will speak for the people and environment of West Virginia with a voice as clear as a West Virginia high country stream,” Baber said. “While it’s unclear who the other parties will nominate, it isclear that our party is leading the way in creating a brighter energy-efficient future for all the people of our great and beautiful state.”
Bob Henry Baber is an award-winning Appalachian poet and artist, a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow, a 2007 recipient of the National Hero Award from the National Wilderness Society for his successful advocating on behalf of vastly expanding the Cranberry Wilderness area, and the former Mayor of Richwood West Virginia. He is also the creator of the Yeager Airport Adoption led by Glenville State College, where he is employed as a Major Gifts Officer.