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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
I am writing in response to the recent County Commission meeting concerning the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project.
My intent is not to oppose or voice support for the project, but rather, I want to express my disgust for some of the individuals who spoke in opposition.
Every person certainly has the right to oppose the project and to do so publicly, but no one has the right to accuse potential construction workers of being sexual predators, as one lady suggested.
A gentlemen stated that the only contribution these construction workers would make to our economy would be to frequent our bars and whorehouses.
I’ve worked around construction workers my entire career. I find most to be understanding people, just trying to earn a living and provide for their families.
Every Sunday afternoon, many Pocahontas County residents travel to other states to work. These are our neighbors, family members and friends.
Do you suppose people in the cities they travel to refer to them as drunks or sexual predators?
Likely not!
The individuals making these venomous statements are the very folks that claim to love our mountains, trees, rivers and streams; and would probably risk their lives for the Cheat Mountain salamander.
I don’t understand how they can find so much hatred for people they don’t even know.
Gary A. Sharp

Dear Editor:
The proposed Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline is being opposed by various environmental groups on the grounds that they oppose any hydrocarbon fuel used in our electric power generating facilities.
Many coal-fired power plants will have to shut down due to new EPA standards and the only way that they can meet the new standards is to convert to natural gas.
The environmental groups fail to recognize that the natural gas will get to the market one way or another. The Keystone pipeline that will carry oil from Canada to our Gulf coast has been delayed for six years, thus making the refineries ship by rail to the Mississippi River and transport by barges to the Gulf coast.
Transporting any liquid or gas by pipeline is the cheapest and safest way to get the product to market. We are the number one producer of natural gas in the world, a gift from God. It is our only chance to become energy independent.
Our county and state elected officials are only hearing from the opposition and are hesitant to make a resolution supporting the pipeline routing through our area.
The Forest Service is taking comments now to make a decision whether to let pipeline contractors have access to public land for surveying and establishing the exact route. If we do not speak out in favor of the pipeline they will only hear from the opposition.
Please contact your county commissioners and state delegates and tell them to support the pipeline project.
I have grandsons who are nearing military age, and if we have to defeat the Muslim extremists in the Middle East, we must be energy independent and our natural gas reserves are our only chance.
Douglas Cooper
Valley Head

Dear Editor:
Recent events in the Greenbrier River Watershed underscore the importance of our clean water and our responsibilities toward our environment. In the last few months there have been two spills of diesel fuel, one in Durbin and one near Anthony, which impacted our river. Those in the Lewisburg area have just had their public water system shut down, reminding us not only of the importance of keeping our river and tributaries clean, but also of the spill from chemical tanks which shut down Charleston’s water system for days, and actually contaminated their drinking water.
These events should make us reflect on how really fortunate we are to have an abundance of clean water and, I hope, think about how we can protect it and our home in the future. Our karst topography, giving us miles of underground cave rivers and allowing pollutants to reach our rivers quickly, is one of the features we need to understand and protect.
So far, our area has not seen the growth of fracking as some parts of the state have, but the proposals for fracked gas pipelines crossing our area are upon us. And it should be clear that these would not only impact us during construction, but would impact our property values and sense of security, and lead to the expansion of fracking. This method of getting gas is already impacting water supplies and the health of residents in areas where it is happening. Our congressmen in the US House of Representatives recently voted to fast-track pipeline approval. And Representative McKinley said he believes we should export this gas overseas.
We invite you to join with us to protect our watershed, attend public meetings and speak up for clean water.
John J. Walkup III,
Greenbrier River
Watershed Association

Dear Editor:
I met last week at the State Capitol building with Secretary Kiss (former house leader) and Deputy Attorney General Leslie.
The evening before, I had a private supper with Delegate Bill Hartman who sponsored the
RAD bill, this following up a meeting I had with him two weeks ago in Elkins and after numerous attempts to negotiate a reasonable and legal compromise with Intrawest.
I would not presume to speak for the Delegate, but during supper I found him to be an honest and forthright man who is trying as hard as he can to broker middle ground in a difficult situation. At no time during our discussions did I sense his uncompromising support for either side of the issue but yet a sincere desire to do the right thing.
Both Secretary Kiss and Mr. Leslie were provided advance point papers and back up documents that included the current code and ensuing recommendations. I believe, from our discussions, both had, in good faith, executed their due diligence under their oaths and had read and analyzed in detail the current code.  I was impressed by the professionalism of both. Because they are certainly well-versed in the protocols of state governance, they reasonably differed to the Legislature stating that in their opinion the RAD law should be repealed because of its many inherent flaws both constitutional and operational and, if referred to court action would certainly not survive.  This obviously would have had significant implications for the county should the RAD petition been approved. Both stated they
felt it most appropriate to allow the Legislature to initiate action to repeal/replace the law prior to them providing comment and opinion.
In this context I was surprised and heartened to learn that Intrawest had (just that very day) initiated action to through Delegate Hartman recommending several important revisions dealing with voting procedures, ability to dissolve the RAD and a cap on lending/borrowing.  
However, not addressed were the issues of bonding, assessments, liens and allocation of District Board seats, which, in my opinion comprise the core issues of the RAD concept.
The President of Snowshoe has kindly invited me to discuss with the HOA Presidents my continuing concerns on the 28th of this month [February].  I am grateful for the courtesy. However time to submit revisions to the Legislature is limited; consequently if there are actions that Intrawest has publicly stated they would guarantee via the petition or by-laws, I would encourage them to place these within the law during this revision process.

Bill McHenry

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