Norton Virginia as seen from Flag Rock.
Fig. 1 Norton, Virginia as seen from Flag Rock.

Norton Virginia as seen from Flag Rock.
Fig. 2 Wise County, Virginia as seen from Flag Rock.

Why Public Disclosure is a Right

by Lewis Loflin

Related see Environmentalism 50 Years of Observation.

My experiences with government economic development in Southwest Virginia illustrate the danger of government secrecy.

Secrecy in science used to underwrite environmental policy violates the scientific method. Secrecy is undemocratic by locking the public out of critical decision-making.

Lack of disclosure and transparency leads to failure, fraud, and waste.

Efforts at economic development and revitalization in Southwest Virginia stand as an example.

The entire effort was politicized from the start and had zero chance of success.

I Live in Bristol, Virginia, in the heart of Appalachia. I'm in Southwest, Virginia, near the Tennessee State line.

According to the United Ways of Virginia report in 2018, "More than 50% of Southwest Virginia households in 2018 lived in poverty or earned less than the basic cost of living..."

The area is mainly the Virginia 9th. Congressional District. I've been documenting economic issues since the 1990s. They spent perhaps $1 billion on economic/social programs with little success.

The money went for corporate welfare, green energy research, tourism development, etc.

It benefited those on top. Many often left the region with little notice.

Bristol, Virginia, wasted $100 million on a shopping center, developers pocketing millions in sales taxes, highway funds, economic development grants, etc. It mostly failed.

The presence of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, nearby Radford University, etc., produces nothing for the average person.

How can Montgomery County, Virginia home of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and nearby Radford University, have a 20% (double the state average of 10%) poverty rate? The absolute poverty (ALICE*) rate is 34%.

In Washington County, where I live, has a lower poverty rate of 15% (2018) has a 31% ALICE rate. Median Household Income: $46,262 (state average: $72,577).

That is 36% below the Virginia median income.

Yet Montgomery County: Median Household Income: $51,932 (state average: $72,577), has a higher ALICE rate than Washington County.

And these are the two wealthier counties in the region. Others are far worse. The ALICE rate across the region is ~55%.

This process went on for decades. It keeps going because of secrecy and political corruption.

The funds misused or wasted. The public has no access to the economic data that, by Virginia Law, is blocked from public view. The Virginia Tobacco Commission disbursed at least $750 million with improper record keeping or no enforcement mechanism.

Meetings under State law relating to government grants, contracting, etc., are blocked from public view under the guise of hampering business deals. In one case, over $100,000 per job for a call center that closed.

I'm not even allowed to know how many restaurant workers work in Bristol. I could get the data until 2012, when they restricted access.

*ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the essential cost of living for the county (the ALICE Threshold). While conditions have improved for some households, many continue to struggle, especially as wages fail to keep pace with the cost of household essentials.

Politicians rely on "expert" advice from mainly college academics in the same way the EPA does. The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service in Wise is a branch of the University of Virginia.

One official told me they wrote one study within days to secure a grant for a country music museum.

The City of Bristol lost population, and poverty increased after they built a $12 million museum with ARC and Tobacco grants.

What is their new mission in 2022?

Two initiatives important to our reimagining public service include illustrating our impact - how our work makes a difference in communities across the Commonwealth and ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are woven into all aspects of our work.

They are also into the environmental babble industry with this excellent paper, "Emerging Issues in Decentralized Resource Governance: Environmental Federalism, Spillovers, and Linked Socio-Ecological Systems."

That is where the money is.

This policy paper is aimed directly at State and Federal EPA policy. In my view, it should have zero to do with government anything. It sounds like advocating a "cap and trade" scheme to reduce emissions.

In fairness, there is nothing evil in this paper. It does advocate total government control of society through environmental regulations and how to manage it. This babble is a recipe for tyranny.

The EPA and many "scientists" have merged social theory and politics into science. They don't want their grants threatened.

Those that want these policies, not just science, control the money.

Full disclosure and open debate threaten the money.


The following are how history was altered by climate.

The following links are how I built my own Geiger counter plus more earth science. My home state of Virginia has some of the largest uranium reserves in the United States.

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If using this material on another site, please provide a link back to my site.