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Pocahontas Co. Commission Letter to Dominion – Remove Commission from ACP Supporter Website

At the October 17th Pocahontas County Commission’s meeting, several citizens who were opposed to the Pipeline aired their opinions and beliefs. In Part one of the meeting stories, we will concentrate on these pipeline comments. Part two about this meeting will air soon and will cover the non-pipeline issues addressed at the meeting.

Doug Bernier was listed on the agenda to discuss the pipeline, specifically to learn where the Commission stands on the pipeline and to ask the Commission to write a letter to Dominion Power asking them to correct their website which incorrectly lists the Pocahontas County Commission as being a supporter of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

When Bernier asked the commission about this, Commission President Beard was quick to reply.

“Our letter has been sent to get our name off of it” said Beard.

Commission Attorney Bob Martin further explained this.

“I talked to a few people at Dominion about that and told them when the Commission sent their letter, they had been presented with three potential routes and the commission said, I believe it was the way it was phrased, that they weren’t supporters of the pipeline itself, but of the three, the Northern Route, faced with the devil and the deep blue sea would be the one they would support” said Martin. “The reason for that was that it went through predominantly Federal land. There were four individuals whose property was affected and that all the times the Commission addressed that, none of those four people ever appeared, raised any question or anything. I said that did not constitute a outright support of your pipeline. That was a clear misrepresentation and the Commission wanted off (of the web list of supporters.”)

Martin said Dominion has assured him the Commission would be removed as being a pipeline supporter on their website.

Several people including John Leyzorek, Allen Johnson and Nicky Alikakoss also talked against the pipeline, while Commissioner David McLaughlin expressed his support of it. Time simply prevents us from presenting all of these discussions in detail, so here are but a few snippets from these well thought out and presented opinions.

Leyzorek challenged Commissioner Jessie Groseclose to keep his anti-eminent domain campaign promise.

“Mr. Groseclose made a campaign promise on the radio, saying he was a supporter of private property” said Leyzorek. “If he is, he still has a chance to honor that campaign promise. This is a project involving the use of eminent domain . so I would like to give Mr. Groseclose a chance to honor his campaign promise and make a motion that the Commission write a letter in opposition.”

Commissioner Groseclose responded.

“Well, john keeps hitting me about the eminent domain” said Groseclose. “No paper on this desk, as of yet I have to sign that says ‘take your property.’”

After the Commissioners said that since they do not support the current pipeline route, they obviously do not support the pipeline project, however they stopped short of writing a letter in opposition to the pipeline.

After Nicky Alikakoss directly asked Commissioner McLaughlin id he is opposed to the pipeline, McLaughlin made it clear he supports the pipeline because a pipeline is a much safer way to transport natural gas through Pocahontas County then multiple trucks hauling it. McLaughlin asked Nicky if there was a safer way then a pipeline to transport natural gas, and Nicky replied “solar.” To which McLaughlin jokingly replied “you can’t transport natural gas by solar.” Leyzorek added that it would be impractical for trucks to ever do that, and McLaughlin conceded that is true .

Nicky went on to describe the environmental disaster the pipeline would be, while Allen Johnson talked about the environmental disaster fracking gas poses to the earth.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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