Recent events underscore importance of clean water

Dear Editor:

Recent events in the Greenbrier River Watershed underscore the importance of our clean water and our responsibilities towards 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. Public comments are being accepted until Feb. 13 by the Forest Service on allowing Dominion Resources to survey for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on the Monongahela National Forest, and on the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s surveying on the Jefferson National Forest (www.fs.usda.gov). If you want to keep up with events concerning the above topics and get useful information, you can like Greenbrier Watershed on Facebook, and sign up for our email alerts by sending us an email to info@greenbrier.org. Timely information and links concerning the proposed pipelines may also be found at www.mareproject.org.

Sincerely,

John J. Walkup III, President,

Greenbrier River Watershed

Association

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