The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

April 24, 2011

Gubernatorial candidate profiles: the Mountain Party’s Bob Henry Baber

BECKLEY — Editor’s Note: Through May 4, The Register-Herald will publish a daily story featuring in-depth interviews we conducted with candidates seeking the office of governor of West Virginia. Each of the 16 people who filed were issued an invitation to appear before our editorial board, and 14 of those came to Beckley to meet with us and discuss some of the key issues in West Virginia. The stories will appear in the order in which the candidates were interviewed. Today’s story focuses on Mountain candidate Bob Henry Baber, of Glenville.

1 — It certainly appears that Marcellus shale regulation will remain a major topic of interest for the next several years. What are the key features that you see that need to be included in West Virginia law in order to best serve the interests of all the parties involved?

Obviously, I’m for the development of this relatively green energy source. We do have to have regulation, no doubt about that. That’s going to mean we’re going to have to have some fees, the tax. We’re going to have to increase the filing fees. Even the DEP says right now they really don’t have enforcement capabilities for these now about 3,000 new employees that are pretty much gallivanting around the state. It’s really, really important that we protect our water and that we make sure that the environment is protected as this new wave of development takes place.

I do want to say, interestingly enough, I have a farm in Greenbrier County. And I do not own the mineral rights. It’s a broad form deed. I actually brought two of them with me. I’ll leave them with you. These are the deeds to my grandparents’ farm, and they actually outline the rights of the surface owner as opposed to the mineral owner, and/or the gas owner in this case. And really, as I jokingly said, it’s a broad form of deed; all grandpa, all you bought, was the air.

These broad form deeds were revised, you might say outlawed, for strip mining purposes in every state in the union. Kentucky was the last in 1980. But the only thing the landowner is protected from, the private landowner, is from strip mining. They’re not protected from gas interests. And that gives me real pause because, guess what, I got a letter from a gas company saying we want to come in and test on your farm. I’ve got 30 acres in Greenbrier County. I’m surrounded by 300,000 privately held acres in Westvaco, and it kind of makes me wonder why they want to come in on my 30 when there’s 300,000 around me. It also gives me pause for my well, my land, my surface. I’ve only got seven acres that are cleared. The test might not be that big. But if an actual well came in, it could be significant.

This poses a real growth opportunity for West Virginia. But we need to protect the environment. And there’s one thing that I’m going to say, and that is, this can probably open to maybe another conversation a little about mountaintop mining and coal mining. But we need to, with this

Marcellus development, create what I’m calling the energy dividend. We need to rake some money off the top of gas and coal. I’m talking new taxes, or severance taxes, to create the new green economy. We are an energy-producing state. That’s kind of insulated us a little bit. You know, everything is happening in the country. Of course, we didn’t have a big bubble to pop. But we’ve got to bridge the future to the new energy future. We have that opportunity, being an energy-producing state now, with fossil fuels, to move into the future, to plan the West Virginia of 50 years from now. And I don’t really see anyone looking at that.

Text Only
Latest News
  • Sunflower 1 Unique sunflower

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • How much will annexation cost?

    City of Beckley officials say annexation would provide many benefits to outlying residents, but exactly how much would annexation cost?

    July 28, 2014

  • Not in my backyard: U.S. sending fossil fuel abroad

    As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America’s unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution.

    July 28, 2014

  • Greenbrier PSD officials worried about State Fair tunnel project

    Plans to raise a section of U.S. 219 and construct a tunnel underneath for the passage of State Fair pedestrians provided a hot topic for discussion at Friday’s meeting of the Greenbrier Public Service District No. 1 board.

    July 28, 2014

  • Beckley man places second in three-day world horseshoe tourney in Buffalo, N.Y.

    One Beckley man knows a thing or two about pitching a horseshoe. He’s been throwing for decades and he’s been to a handful of world tournaments. Recently he placed second in the 2014 World Horseshoe Pitching Tournament.

    July 28, 2014

  • saints garb new Saintly garb

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • tunnel flow Tunnel reopens after fire

    Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • tunnel firefighters Bluefield firefighters first ones on the scene

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Internet service providers talk shop at Broadband Summit

    Call it the Internet 101.

    West Virginia’s Internet service providers, with the help of Mike Holstine, explained how end-users in homes and businesses get the Internet, how and why they use it and the benefits of having high-speed Internet for everybody. 


    July 27, 2014

  • tunnel Fire closes I-77 for hours

    East River Mountain Tunnel was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel that ignited just after 3 p.m.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo