By Lauren Ragland
Wetzel County Action Group
“WV Wilderness Lovers vs. Proposed Pipelines” is on the agenda for the July 1 Pocahontas County Commissioners Meeting at the Pocahontas County Courthouse in Marlinton at 8 a.m.
Three separate proposed 42-inch pipelines are planned through the wilderness of Pocahontas County. Dominion Power’s “SEPIPELINE” would be blasted and drilled through Randolph County, and the Monongahela National Forest. The proposed route parallels Rt .250 from Monterey ,VA to Huttonsville in Randolph County. Directly adjacent are Civil War sights Camp Allegheny and Camp Bartow, and the “Birth of Rivers.”
Two publicly unannounced pipelines are planned through the Edray/Slatyfork vicinity. One is Dominion Power’s “SPECTRA” and EQT of Pittsburgh, PA plans their “Mountain Valley Pipeline.”
Massive loud compression stations would be built every 10-40 miles to push the natural gas over the mountain ranges. Dozens of huge two story turbines would roar 24 hours a day and be lit up all night. The quiet dark nights of the wilderness would be destroyed along with wildlife.
Pocahontas County is called “Nature’s Mountain Playground” for excellent reasons. Tourism is the heart of tax dollars for the county and jobs for the residents. Visitors come from all corners of the world to ride the rails from Cass and Durbin, ski, snowboard and mountain bike at Snowshoe Resort. People enjoy fly fishing at Elk River Resort in Slatyfork, along with hiking, caving and camping. No doubt this is truly “Nature’s Mountain Playground.” We need to keep it this way permanently to maintain our quality of life.
Spokesperson Lauren Ragland found that water quality was the main concern of the residents of Durbin, Frank, Bartow, Boyer, Green Bank and Cass. “During an 11 hour road trip from Huttonsville in Randolph County to Snowshoe, I spoke with over 200 residents. While handing out a flyer showing photos of blasting, drilling and stream and river destruction, it was clear that no one knew about these proposed pipelines. Many had seen the Pocahontas Times headline story on June 5 but were disgusted with the blurry map. When I explained that Dominion’s spokesperson shared that the maps were intentionally out of focus as to not cause concern, residents were not pleased. The second rated concern is tourism. It is obvious that if Rt. 250 is a construction zone and blocked for years with loaders and equipment, tourism would end.”
Spokesperson Lauren Ragland has been interviewed on Allegheny Mountain Radio and is also scheduled to speak at the Randolph County Commissioners Meeting on July 17 in Elkins.
Ed Wade, Jr. of Wetzel County Action Group’s will share eye witness accounts of life with pipeline construction – blasting, drilling, explosions, landslides, traffic accidents, pipeline leaks and evacuations. Visit wcag-wv.org. to educate yourself on our future if we do not impress our elected officials that the residents of Pocahontas County want to protect our resources, not destroy them.
The group’s motto is “Greed vs. Common Sense” – which side will you stand on? Learn the facts at the Cause page on Facebook, “WV Wilderness lovers vs. Proposed Pipeline” or contact wv.wilderness.vs.prop.pipe