Pocahontas County Listeners Respond to AMR Pipeline Survey

During the month of October, Allegheny Mountain Radio collected listener opinions about the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline, which is pending approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If approved, the pipeline will cross Pocahontas County and Highland County on its 550-mile route to North Carolina.

Fifty-three people responded to AMR’s survey. Thirty-eight responses, or 72%, were opposed to the pipeline. Thirteen responses, or 24%, were in favor of the project. Two responses, or 4%, were undecided.

Survey questions were open-ended, asking about any concerns with the project, any hopes for the project, and any additional comments.

Here are a few of the responses from listeners in Pocahontas County.

David Bott from Boyer wrote: “The environmental disturbance will negatively impact several brook trout streams throughout southern Randolph and northern Pocahontas Counties. In addition, the pipeline will cut one of the few quality road-less areas in the Monongahela National Forest. The Forest in partnership with Trout Unlimited has spent millions of dollars in the East Fork of the Greenbrier to improve brook trout habitat, which now will be impacted by the pipeline.”

Richard Laska of Bartow : “The tax revenue from the pipeline won’t even cover our costs to repair the roads damaged by heavy pipeline excavation equipment. On the other hand, our tourist economy, hunting and logging is likely to be disrupted during pipeline construction. And we will be left with a permanent scar on our scenic views and the continuing threat of a catastrophic accident. Landowners who are forced to give up land for the pipeline will not get a yearly income and strangers will have the right to enter their land at will — without permission.”

Margaret Worth of Edray: “I don’t believe in the need to extract more fossil fuels. I believe that conservation of use and expanded use of solar and wind energy should be the focus of our efforts with regard to limited energy resources.”

Mary Jo McLaughlin of Arboval: “We will lose something that can’t be restored in our lifetime. Our children and their children will see a very different West Virginia. We have a lot to lose. Please help us to keep our state, our national forests and land, our rivers, as beautiful and valued as they are.”

All of these respondents said their hopes for the project are that it will not be approved, or that it will be re-routed to follow a highway or power line right of way without disrupting natural habitat.

Several additional comments mentioned that the county or state should impose higher severance taxes to pay for community needs such as schools and health care and create an investment portfolio to continue to provide income after the natural gas is gone.

Those in favor of the pipeline from West Virginia did not include their name and contact information.

One person in favor of the pipeline wrote: “Dominion is a reputable gas company that uses knowledgeable employees and contractors. They go above and beyond the industry’s standards. The Obama administration already crippled our coal industry, don’t let falsifications bring down the only thing else we have going for us.”

Another person from Green Bank wrote in favor of the pipeline: “I know that it can be done responsibly … I am more concerned with an anti-progress portion of the population that don’t want to ever see change. They seem to be against everything. Change is inevitable. This gas is needed to power our economy and allow our already huge population to grow and prosper.”

One person from Marlinton, who said they were undecided about the project, wrote: “My concern is that shale gas will become the ‘new coal’ for West Virginia, meaning billions of dollars will leave the state while West Virginia continues its decline (notice our perennially low economic and population stats?) My hope for this project, in light of local funding requests such as a school levy and fire fees … is that the citizens and institutions of this state benefit from the exploitation of ‘one of the biggest gas fields on the planet.’”

Dominion Resources has held a series of public meetings in support of its proposal and has sent letters to property owners requesting land surveys for the eventual construction of the natural gas pipeline. Recently the company also issued pamphlets to area homeowners and full-page advertisements in local newspapers touting the benefits of the proposal.

Story By

Kelly Taber

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