June 2, 2015
Ms. Kimberly Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First St., NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426
Dear Ms. Bose,
No pipeline, no pipeline, not now, never. This correspondence is in reference to the proposed construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in my community which includes the West Virginia Counties of Monroe, Summers and Greenbrier; and the Virginia counties of Craig and Giles. I reside in Monroe County, West Virginia, and, therefore, specific details will center around my home county.
The history of white man’s Monroe County begins with explorers in the 1750’s; followed by surveying and land grants, then by early settlers whose activities precipitated deadly conflicts with the Native Americans who hunted extensively in this area. The County was chartered in 1799 and 64 years later, in 1863, in the “Time of Unpleasantness,” Monroe County, Virginia became Monroe County, West Virginia.
During the 45 years before official WV statehood, the County of Monroe was home to numerous prestigious resorts centered around healing spring waters. Wealthy people from locations such as Charleston, SC traveled long and hard in stagecoaches to “take the waters.” Summers were for partying, escaping southern heat and disease, and mingling with the business and political leaders of the day. Monroe’s county seat of Union became the area’s center of commerce because it held close ties to one of the wealthiest families in the southeast, this due to sugar, sugar cane in Louisiana and Cuba.
Agriculturally based for over 200 years, torn apart by Civil War, then by-passed by the railroads, the county continues to thrive in a peaceful, trusting and self-reliant system. Monroe County has no minerals or rivers to speak of and thus, big industry was not interested, and, being a lightly populated rural area, the US government was not interested either. Thus, Monroe County happily maintains itself.
During my time living in Monroe County, I have worked an interesting variety of jobs, always for the people: the older adults, newborns, frail elderly, pregnant women, kids, many people, wonderful folks. Through my close involvement with people and community groups including soccer, PTA, historical society, basketball, watershed groups, housing and the Monroe County Schools, I have developed a keen understanding of local and state dynamics. As an employee of the US Census Bureau I’ve been collecting confidential data for the US Department of Commerce for the last 10 years. The design of survey questions coupled with the method of random household selection does not provide a true picture of my community. The time is now to give rural citizens their just voice, a right to be heard, a right to be treated with respect.
The State of West Virginia is presently in a precarious, quasi legal situation. Legislators, et. al. are attempting to jump from the King Coal bonanza to the gas boom with no thought to the PEOPLE. The Jan. 2014 MCMH chemical spill which contaminated water for over 300,000 people is nearly forgotten by our WV Legislators. Mr. “King Coal” Blankenship is counting on a “not guilty” verdict for his company’s mine safety violations which lead to the deaths of 29 coal miners. The WV Department of Environmental Protection does not have enough inspectors for the ever-increasing hydro-frack wells. The safety and sensibility of a 42” natural gas pipeline is in question.
Our water, our air, our land and our peace of mind. We the People. Who is looking out for us?
We are. We the People.
In closing, I request the FERC to deny the application for the construction of the Mountain Valley pipeline. Furthermore I am requesting the following issues be studied:
1) The historical significance of Monroe County, WV in its entirety;
2) Particulate matter in mountain top removal sites as compared to particulate matter in pipeline construction and hydro frack sites, as related to people’s health;
3) All WV Ethics Commission cases concerning violations and pending violations in regards to WV governance and corporations conducting business in WV;
4) All the historic springs located in my multi-county community, their water composition and flow rate, to be a part of the Environmental Impact Statement.
5) Data collected by the US Department of Commerce and other government agencies for both outlying and incorporated areas of my community.
Thank you for your time. Please do not hesitate to contact me further.
[Editor’s Note: Letters to FERC must be sent by June 16]