Three Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Address the Pocahontas County Commission
During the Hear Callers portion of the February 21st Pocahontas County Commission Meeting, three opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) read prepared statements onto the record.
First, Amy Scott used portions of the recently released FERC Draft Environmental Impact Study to show that FERC has concluded that any financial benefits resulting from construction of the ACP or from the subsequent operation of the ACP would be “temporary and minor”. The specific conclusions of that draft that were cited by Scott include:
- Of the 22 permanent jobs the pipeline will create in West Virginia, zero are in Pocahontas County.
- There would be only temporary economic activity created by the presence of pipeline construction workers; however the housing of these workers during tourist season will make it difficult and more expensive for tourists to find places to stay in the County.
- Disruptions in the form of noise, dust, visual impacts and temporary closures will occur to Seneca State Forest
- The pipeline will cross the Greenbrier River Trail at mile 76.6 causing temporary construction closures and similar disruptions to the trail.
- There have been 2 pipeline explosions, one in Louisiana and one in Texas in the past 2 weeks, and nationwide these explosions have averaged 100 a year or about 8 a month.
Trish McNaull of “Pocahontas Indivisible”, a “Progressive Values” group of 240 members which formed as a result of the recent Presidential Election said that organization opposes the construction of the ACP because it sees it as a “Threat to the long term well being of the citizens of Pocahontas County” “Pocahontas Indivisible” is part of the new national “Indivisible Movement”. According to Salon Magazine, “So far, over 6,000 local groups have registered at IndivisibleGuide.com, agreeing ‘to resist Trump’s agenda, focus on local, defensive congressional advocacy and embrace progressive values.’”
Margaret Worth also expressed her opposition to the pipeline and encouraged the Commissioners to at least not write a letter to FERC in favor of the ACP, even if they feel they can’t write such a letter opposing it. She presented to the Commissioners a list of almost 150 Pocahontas County citizens who oppose the ACP.
Beth Little also addressed the Commissioners on a different topic, filling the vacant position of Director of the County Water Task Force. She said they picked one very qualified candidate but that person changed their mind and turned it down because they would have to move here for a part time position. Beth asked the Commissioners to consider making the position full time to attract good candidates.
In other actions, the Commissioners received the annual update of the Senior Citizens from John Simmons who stated they were carrying on despite budget cuts from the State, but feared greater cuts may be in the works.
They received Glen Galloway’s monthly report on the Day Report Center. Bob Martin emphasized to Glen that the Judges are looking for additional drug testing to be done.
The Commissioners approved 911 Director Mike O’Brien’s request to hire Dale Kinnison as a temporary 911 part time dispatcher to get the 911 Center past personnel shortages caused by illnesses. This temporary hiring would save the County money over the cost of the overtime that would be needed to meet minimum staffing requirements.
The Commissioners set the following dates and times for their upcoming budget work sessions to be held at the Commission Office:
- March 8th at 1:00 p.m.
- March 15th at 10:00 a.m.
- March 17th at 10:00 a.m.
They granted the American Lung Association permission to store bicycles at their own risk in the Former Shoe Factory Building in Marlinton on May 13th for their annual Fundraising Trail Ride on the Greenbrier River Trail.
They wrote a letter supporting grant applications for grants for the Watoga Art in the Park
The meeting ended with an Executive Session on a personnel matter and the signing of invoices.