Pocahontas County Commission Receives Status Update on Pipeline construction
Denise Campbell, the Community Liaison for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, or ACP, addressed the February 5th meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission. Campbell said she wanted to respond with facts to numerous rumors in the community, some of which are falsely saying that the pipeline company was giving up and pulling out because of recent court decisions. Campbell confirmed that while there is currently a temporary stop work order for the entire pipeline imposed by the US 4th Circuit court, they are certainly not leaving. Listen as Denise summarizes the situation.
“Dominion has sent out a statement” Campbell said. “The Company currently expects that construction would commence on the full route during the third quarter of 2019. But we are hoping that in September we would start cutting trees again, and if that happens, then we would be able to start building again. Be in partial service in late 2020 and in full service in early 2021. The original cost of this project started somewhere around 4.5 to 5 billion (dollars), and with the delays and setbacks , it is now going to be estimated to be between 7 to 7.5 billion dollar project. So, one thing I would like to say is the workers who were here in Pocahontas County were welcomed by the community. The ones that I talked to really liked the area, they all sort of wanted to be in downtown Marlinton and we would just like to thank you on behalf of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for welcoming the people who were from out of town and we are so happy to be able to put some of the community to work. We have some members of your community –young men that I talked to that are holding out and can’t wait to return back to work, and are trying to do some odds and ends jobs until they can get back to work at the pipeline.”
John Leyzorek addressed the Commissioners and expressed his concerns with the proposed new Rules of Procedure for the Commission that they were scheduled to vote on later in the meeting. One example of this was that the rules would appear to limit discussion on agenda items to just the elected Commissioners except during the Hear Callers portion of the meeting. John said the proposed rule changes seemed design to stifle public participation and public debate. John summed up his concerns like this.
“With all due respect, you are not lords of disposing of the fate of the County in private discussion among yourselves” said Leyzorek. “And, I will say, in general you have been very tolerant of give-and-take with the public. And I really appreciate that, but when I see rules like this on paper, I don’t want to see the tradition of give-and-take on important issues being squashed.”
Leyzorek said the he “didn’t want to see the tradition of give and take be squashed” by these new rules. The Commissioners eventually tabled approval of those rules to next meeting since they felt they needed time to consider them.
Larry Carr also addressed the Commissioners about his concerns over the hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00} added penalty for people who paid their Waste Management fees late. He felt this was hurting poor people who already had problems affording their original bill. The Commissioners referred Carr to the Solid Waste Authority Board.
They also approved Sheriff Jeff Barlow’s request to hire Shane Hunter Peacock as a full time Law Enforcement Deputy at an hourly rate equal to $30,000 per year plus benefits to start on February 19th.
George Murphy provided the Commissioners with an update on the Snowshoe Resort Community District. He said that they approved their bylaws in January, and have been collecting a 2% Resort Service Fee since August.
Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for part 2 of this story to hear the rest of the significant things that happened at this long and eventful Commission meeting.