PSC orders single sewage plant for Snowshoe
Linwood, W.Va. –
The West Virginia Public Service Commission resolved the Snowshoe sewage crisis with an order to the Pocahontas Public Service District to build a single, large-capacity sewage plant for the Snowshoe area – at the bottom of the mountain. PSD board members Tom Shipley and David Litsey had attempted to push through separate plants for the mountain and the valley.
The order is a victory for Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. and five area landowners, who joined forces and litigated to force construction of a large valley plant.
During Tuesday evening’s Pocahontas Public Service District meeting, Linwood resident Russell Holt says equality was the reason he fought.
“I want to say that I support the Public Service Commission’s decision, which really spoke to what I always wanted, which was equal access to a public utility,” he said. “Apparently, there are people who don’t believe in, for example, the case of Brown versus The Board of Education, 1954 decision, that says that separate but equal, is in fact unequal.”
PSD board member David Litsey reacts to Holt’s reference to the landmark school desegregation case.
“Mr. Holt talked about Constitution,” he said. “I would point out that when I graduated the University of Virginia, the first school I taught in was all black,” he said. “They were still segregated in Virginia in 1969. The concept that somehow, the treatment of his sewage is entitled as the same constitutional protection of a child’s formation is so offensive, it is unbelievable.”
The Snowshoe Property Owners Council and many Snowshoe-area residents supported the multi-plant design, which they argued would be cheaper and safer for the environment.
Snowshoe resident Bob Forrest criticizes PSD board member Amon Tracey, who opposed the multi-plant design, and served as public comment timekeeper.
“Mr. Tracey, let me say one more thing now,” he said. “I wish that you had paid as much attention to the people that are speaking here that you have been paying to your watch.”
“I listened very carefully to you, Mr. Forrest,” Tracey responded.
Forrest also condemned resort management for siding with the landowners and against Snowshoe homeowners.
Elk River resident Tolly Peleuche says the system is broke.
“The system is a huge disappointment,” she said. “It has not worked. I think it’s just a microcosm of what’s going on in the whole country. It’s being run by a few rich people.”
Snowshoe resident Ira Maupin thanks the PSD for fighting a good fight.
“My message to you tonight is one of gratefulness,” he said. “You have endured some incredibly difficult times, tough decisions made, study that you must have done before you made those decisions, and also, some of the terribly difficult remarks that have been made to you. You’ve conducted yourselves as gentlemen and true scholars, I think.”
The PSC cited minimal cost savings, minimal danger of a down-mountain sewage pipeline and growth potential in the valley in its 27-page order. The only decision left to the local utility board was a choice of a valley plant site. The board voted 2-1 to select Site 7-12 on Snowshoe Drive, on property that Snowshoe agreed to donate for a centralized plant two-and-a-half years ago. Board member David Litsey opposed Site 7-12 and said a site behind the Inn at Snowshoe would be better.