We have all been hearing and reading about the disastrous chemical spill into the Elk River in the Charleston area. All West Virginians should take this catastrophe as a wake-up call. We must stay alert and be on guard to protect our waters from the businesses that value only money and want to constantly increase their profits with no concern for the future of the people who live here.
In 2012, a group of concerned citizens actively opposed our own Pocahontas County Commission’s and the Greenbrier Economic Development Corporation’s plan to turn over nine acres of land to Outhouse LLC, owned by Jacob Meck, to be used for the storage of raw human sewage in tanks above ground in Green Bank. One commissioner voted in favor of the plan, even though we had more than 200 signatures of people from the area who were against it. Fortunately, that plan was scrapped when the other two commissioners voted against the plan. Soon thereafter, Mr. Meck went about burying old and used tanks beside Deer Creek close to Moore’s Concrete for the storage of his sewage. After I contacted the WV DEP several times by phone, they wrote back to me about the tanks at Deer Creek and their response was shocking. Our WV DEP officials were doing nothing. I then wrote letters to some state and federal elected officials about the tanks beside Deer Creek and they just referred the situation back to our WV DEP officials. So, you can see why I call these elected officials the “Pass the Buck” group.
After many phone calls and letters from the concerned citizens to the WV DEP, they finally came to see Mr. Meck and the area where the tanks are buried and said they could find nothing wrong – that Jacob Meck had inspected these tanks himself before burial and that now he had a general permit requiring no inspections of any kind. Our WV DEP officials, whose job it is to protect our water and our environment, were doing nothing. That was exactly the situation that existed in Charleston, relative to Freedom Industries, before their tanks began to leak.
I have nothing against Mr. Meck or his business. His is a necessary service industry. I do have something against the people in the DEP who cannot or will not do their jobs. They have the responsibility to regulate and inspect in order to protect the all of us. Mr. Meck is an LLC business – his liability for any problems with his facility is limited. I believe that we have extensive experience in this county with clean-up costs that are left to the taxpayers. – Howe’s Leather at Frank, Hanover Shoe in Marlinton.
I love West Virginia. We need help from everyone to keep the land and the water safe. Call or write your elected officials about your concerns. Also, get out and vote in the May primary so we can elect someone who will work with the majority of the constituents and who will put the safety of our streams and communities first. Tanks do develop leaks and floods do occur. We must protect ourselves and all of our fellow citizens.
And remember, we must have water to survive. This county is the birthplace of eight rivers. We must keep these waters clean and pure.
I would like to thank you for the interview with Eugene Simmons that was in The Times talking about the drug problem in your area.
I am a born-again, past resident of Pocahontas County, from the Jacox area of Hillsboro. When I grew up there drugs were not even heard of. Tobacco was the worst problem and cigarettes were nine cents a pack. An older boy would sell them to us younger boys for a penny a piece, so he got us started on a drug problem.
I would like to share what parts of Maryland are doing now, in Kent and Queen Anns counties. They are separating the sheriff and state police when dealing with the problem of drugs. It seems the state police were spending a lot of time in court as witnesses over drug arrests they had made, and the judge would just pat them on the hand and let them go. So now they turn the local problem over to local law enforcement, and the state police are going after the big distributors who come from other states. They try to get the big guy, and not spend too much time in court where they gain nothing.
So it seems to make sense to me.