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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor;

The author of last week’s letter in support of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline deserves to be complimented.  As a former magazine editor, I appreciate professional writing.

The letter makes a good point.  Some local workers will get temporary jobs during pipeline construction.  A few landowners will be paid rent.  And folks who built or expanded RV parks have high hopes of rental income from out-of-state workers.

I have no argument with those facts.  But they miss the main point of my earlier letter.  

Sure, a handful of county residents will drink pipeline punch for a year.  Maybe two.  What then?  What will we have when the pipeline punch bowl is empty?  An economic hangover?

Will the jobs our local workers left to join the pipeline crew still be waiting for them?  And what about the added RV parks?  Does the County have a long-term economic strategy to make use of this resource?  Or will the parks sit and slowly decay like RV ghost towns?

I stand by my original statement:  As things now stand, Pocahontas County will get no significant long-term benefit from the pipeline.  No long-term jobs. No cheap gas.  No industry.

One more comment.  Like the earlier pro-pipeline letter – which claimed that a smattering of grass seed would stabilize a mountainside – this new letter makes an equally unlikely claim:  There will be long-term local jobs in ‘pipeline maintenance’.

Pipeline maintenance?  Really?  Most of the pipeline is underground.  What “maintenance” jobs are eight feet under?  

How gullible do pipeline cheerleaders think we are?

The pipeline will continue to lose support as more people realize how little we stand to gain.  Big investors will get 30 or more years of guaranteed profits.  The people of Pocahontas County get a few temporary jobs.  And we are told to be oh, so very grateful, for the scraps left over from their banquet.

Shouldn’t some of the long-term benefits be ‘in our back yard’ along the pipeline?

Folks who serve private interests have a staff of well-paid professionals to tell their story and buy influence.  On the other hand, workers for the public interest have only their voices and votes.  But their voices speak a truth.  And the voters will listen.

Richard Laska

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