There will be many environmental impacts from the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline and associated facilities, but I’m not writing about all the environmental impacts on the air, soil, water, vegetation and wildlife, because there’s not enough room in the editorial section of this paper. Instead, I want share what it means to be a West Virginian and how the proposed pipeline will impact our well-being and the lifestyle we chose to live by.
As West Virginians, we lead a simple life; that’s why we’ve chosen this place to call our home. We are stewards of the environment. We take care of the land because the land also takes care of us. These mountains are more than just our home; they are our grocery store, our pharmacy, our therapist, and our church.
The forests and streams in our backyards provide all we can ask for in a trip to the grocery store. We eat what nature provides for us. We live off the trout, wild turkeys, ramps, mushrooms, bear, and deer meat harvested from these mountains. It’s not only sustenance that nature provides. These mountains are also our health care providers through medicinal plants such as ginseng, goldenseal, blue and black cohosh, and blood root just to name a few.
In addition to health benefits, the mountains are in and of themselves therapeutic. Being close to nature is known to relieve stress and boost your mood. We leave behind the stresses of everyday life when we come to recreate in the mountains whether it’s hiking, bike riding, boating, swimming, hunting or fishing. The mountains provide endless opportunities to forget our everyday worries and enjoy nature.
The Appalachian Mountains are sacred to us. As West Virginians, we seek out the beauty in nature to find peace within ourselves. We take the time to watch the sunset over the mountains and listen to the birds singing and wind blowing through the trees. When we sit and observe the beauty around us, we feel the love of God and creation and it brings us peace in a world full of strife.
As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) evaluates the environmental impacts of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, let’s not let them forget to account for the fact that we depend on a healthy environment for our food, medicine, spirituality, and the overall health of our communities. If we can no longer forage for food and medicine in our backyards, enjoy our forests and streams, raise our children in a safe and healthy environment, and feel the power of creation in every magnificent view, then our way of life will be affected. Any impact from the proposed pipeline that alters our lifestyle will be a significant impact.
FERC will be accepting public comments on the proposed project until June 16. To submit comments reference the project docket number PF15-3-000 with your submission and file electronically at www.ferc.gov or mail to:
Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary,
Federal Energy Regulatory
888 First Street NE., Room 1A,
Washington, DC 20426.
Your comments on the proposed project are needed and imperative to the health and safety of our community.