Pocahontas Commission May File As Intervenors In PSC Case Concerning Regional Sewer Plant

Marlinton, WV – In the last year or so, Pocahontas County Commissioners Martin Saffer and David Fleming have taken a less active part in the ongoing negotiations concerning the proposed regional sewer plant. That changed Wednesday when they voted to take steps toward filing as Intervenors in a case now before the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Commission President Martin Saffer made a motion to retain the Steptoe and Johnson law firm to advise the Commission on how to proceed. Although Commissioner Reta Griffith advised against the action, the motion passed on a two to one vote, with Griffith opposed. The Commission also approved a second motion to have Prosecuting Attorney Donna Price prepare a response from the Commission to the WV PSC.

The case in question is a lawsuit filed with the WV PSC by Snowshoe Mountain Resort and a group of local landowners. The filing asks the PSC to order the Pocahontas County Public Service District to complete the regional sewer project as designed by Thrasher Engineering. That proposal is currently awaiting approval by the WV Dept of Environmental Protection. Failing that, they ask the PSC to appoint a receiver through the County Circuit court to complete the project. The Snowshoe Property Owners Council has already filed as intervenors in this case.

At a meeting of the Public Service District board Monday night, the board voted to send a letter to the PSC in support of case filed by Snowshoe. The board also voted to send a letter to the WV DEP confirming their support of the Thrasher plan. Both letters were signed by PSD Chairman Mark Smith and board member Amon Tracey. Board member Tom Shipley was opposed to both letters and did not sign them.

This could be a mute point, as Smith will lose his position on the board in September. At the County Commission meeting on August 17th, Commissioners Fleming and Saffer voted to appoint David Litsey to the PSD board in Smith’s place. Litsey is an outspoken opponent of the Thrasher plan.

Amon Tracey had prepared a statement for the Commission meeting Wednesday, but ultimately wasn’t given the chance to speak. In his statement, Tracey chastises Commissioners Saffer and Fleming for removing Smith from the board.

Tracey also says he’s heard from residents in the northern part of the county who are unhappy that they’ll have no representation on the PSD board once Smith leaves. Tracey says he fears he’ll find himself in the minority once Litsey takes his position on the board. Mark Smith’s last PSD meeting will August 31st.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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