by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A new website aims to add “Steyerville” to the political lexicon as a term for once thriving communities that had their livelihoods stripped away thanks to efforts of environmentalist groups backed by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer.
The website, Steyerville.com, was launched on Thursday by Power the Future, a nonprofit dedicated to giving a voice to men and women working in the energy industry who it says are often drowned out by loud activist voices backed by Steyer’s billions.
It labels places such as Boone County in West Virginia, where unemployment has doubled and 10 percent of the population moved away in just six years, as the home of Steyervilles.
The story laid out by the group is that Boone County was thriving because of the coal industry, which in 2010 employed 3,894 of its residents. Then came the Sierra Club, an environmentalist group backed by Steyer’s millions, which targeted the county’s coalmines with environmental lawsuits and pushed them toward bankruptcy.
Not only were coal jobs lost—by 2015 coal employment in the county was down from 3,894 to 1,492—but budget cuts were made because of lost revenue. In 2016, Boone County announced that three elementary schools were closing permanently and 60 teachers were being laid off.
“What was once a thriving community became a Steyerville,” the site explains.
Daniel Turner, the group’s executive director, says the goal of the site is to hold Steyer accountable for what he is doing to these towns.