By Sarah Mansheim
Fracking, pipelines, and coal mines – it’s all part of the West Virginia economy and the Appalachian struggle, for better and for worse. In this week’s issue, we’ve got some great stories on the energy industry: pipeline property rights, a renowned scientist’s views on how pipeline placement will affect West Virginia’s great national forests and another look into the brine components that are used to melt snow and ice on West Virginia roadways. Sometimes we wonder if we’re preaching to the choir, but at the same time, we are always looking at how our leading extraction industries are affecting our land and water in southern West Virginia and we hope to bring more light to the subject. We live in an exceptional state, rich in beauty above ground, and full of riches underground. too.
Last week we learned that former Massey CEO Don Blankenship has been indicted for his role in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, we are also reminded that human safety is always an issue in the energy industry as well. We’ve looked into the mine safety records of another industry giant: Jim Justice, known locally as the owner of The Greenbrier, the coach of the boys and girls Greenbrier East basketball teams, and a man whose charitable giving can overshadow almost any other local organization’s gifts. Our article on Justice in the Business section tries to hold a mirror to an enigmatic man whose charitable giving and community involvement seems at odds with some of the practices of the coal mines he owns. We don’t condemn or honor the man, we just look at his philanthropy and business practices, and the role West Virginia media plays in portraying Justice.
In other business, we’re presenting a nice spread on the Lewisburg Holiday Open House, a vehicle that drives small business and tourism in the Greenbrier Valley. We hope you all will come downtown this weekend and check out the local merchants’ beautiful window displays. They run the gamut from charming to simply stunning, and I think they’re worth a look.
Finally, allow us at the Mountain Messenger to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend the holiday among those who you hold dear, eating well in a warm home, remembering the gifts you’ve received throughout the year. I know I am most thankful for my health, my children and my beloved family and pets, and for a warm house that protects me against the cold of winter.
And we are all thankful for our readers, who push us and challenge us and hold us to high standards. We are happy to oblige.