PSD Sends Thrasher Report On Rigby Proposal To WV DEP For Review
Snowshoe, WV –
It was standing room only when the Pocahontas County Public Service District board gathered for a special meeting at the Snowshoe sewer office last week. On the agenda was a proposal to submit a report on an alternative regional sewer plan to the West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection. The report was prepared by Jonathan Carpenter of Thrasher Engineering, the engineering firm of record for the PSD’s proposed regional sewer plant.
Carpenter says his report is an “apples to apples” comparison of Thrashers plan and the one proposed by David Rigby, President of Waste Water Management, Inc. However, Carpenter’s report estimates the Rigby plan would cost 26 million, while Rigby claims it could be done for only 14 million. When the vote to submit the report passed less than 40 minutes later, many in the room were left stunned by both the swiftness of the decision and what they saw as disregard for their concerns.
The meeting started out peacefully enough with PSD board member Amon Tracey setting some ground rules for public comment. Tracey said everyone who wished to speak could do so, but only for five minutes, and could not interrupt anyone else.
Developer Russell Holt was the first to speak, coming down firmly on the side of the Thrasher plan. Holt accuses Rigby’s supporters of trying to stop further development in the Snowshoe area.
“They have allowed the environmental pollution that everybody’s so worried about to continue unabated by a continually changing group of so-called environmentalists who in effect, just don’t want growth at Snowshoe and are attempting to stop it” says Holt.
Tolly Peuleche voiced one of the primary concerns on the minds on many in the room. She says she believes it’s not a matter of if but when a pipeline breaks under the Thrasher plan.
“Clean water cannot be replaced” says Peuleche. “It’s a generation or more before it’s fixed. Clean water should trump everything.”
PSD member Tom Shipley made a motion to discuss more fully the contents of Carpenters’ report, but the motion died for lack of a second. Shipley went on record as protesting what he calls an outrage for not being willing to discuss the report further with rate payers.
PSD member Amon Tracey called for the vote on his motion to submit the report to the DEP. The motion passed on a 2 to 1 vote, with Shipley opposed. Many in attendance accused Tracy and PSD Chairman Mark Smith of working in collusion to decide on the vote prior to the meeting. Citing a rowdy and disrespectful atmosphere, Tracy made a motion to adjourn the meeting even though other agenda items had not been discussed. This vote like the first was approved on a 2 to 1 vote, with Shipley opposed.