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Road Repair

Is the energy industry paying its fair share?

Gov. Jim Justice’s road repair campaign brings up a question often on the minds of some area residents: Is the energy industry paying its fair share to repair roads damaged by its heavy trucks?

We honestly do not know the answer to that question, but it is one into which the governor may want to inquire as he attempts to hit his target of $240 million for secondary road repairs.

State Division of Highways officials released a list of repair priorities this week. Some of the sections of road on the list could be poster children for those concerned about damage caused by the big trucks.

Bonding requirements for the gas industry were intended to ensure companies could not just beat roads into gravel, then walk away from them. While the amounts of money involved may not cover all needed repairs, they are some help.

Are the rules being enforced adequately? Is the energy industry paying for at least some of the repairs on the DOH list? Or will taxpayers be stuck with the entire bill?

Natural gas production and processing bring many benefits to our state. Wrecked roads should not be part of the legacy.

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For years, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has refused to release county-by-county statistics on the number of cases of HIV and AIDS. But now, HIV is on the upswing in at least one area, Cabell County.

Twenty-eight cases of HIV have been confirmed in that county, which in the past had been a center of illicit drug use. One way the virus can be spread is through use of infected needles by intravenous drug users.

Public health officials have not yet discovered what is behind the surge in HIV cases in Cabell County. Clearly, however, behavior of some sort, whether involving sharing of needles or unprotected sex, is involved.

We have argued for years that making public the county-by-county numbers on HIV and AIDS could be beneficial. Those tempted to engage in risky behaviors might think again if they knew of an upsurge in HIV/AIDS in their areas.

In the past, state health officials have said such detail might invade the privacy of those with HIV/AIDS. That is nonsense. No one is asking for names or addresses — only county-level numbers that could save lives.

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