Long-term solutions or short-term begging?
It has been fascinating to watch the Upshur and Randolph County Commissions crying for the return of the now-illegal Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The latest escapade is the Randolph County Commission kowtowing to Atlantic Coast Pipeline staffer Denise Campbell. At Campbells’s urging, County Commissions are begging Congressional leaders to bend the law to their favor.
Is this really in our favor? The federal courts have deemed the Pipeline illegal for several reasons that protect us. According the Fourth Circuit Court, the Pipeline does not serve the interests of our prized National Forest. The Pipeline does not benefit hikers on the Appalachian Trail. It threatens the sanctity of potable water and the wildlife that depend on the forests and waters the Pipeline effects. This is why the courts have forced Pipeline construction to cease.
Repopulation needs to be West Virginia’s central mission. More people bring more jobs, more services, more public transportation, more arts and culture, dining opportunities and more money for our communities.
Depopulation serves extractive industries. It’s much easier to have gas drilling, cracker plants, petrochemical storage hubs and mountaintop removal without those pesky people trying to live nearby.
Repopulation comes about when young people stay, older people stay or return, and people of all ages decide that West Virginia is a habitable and hospitable place to reside. No one wants to live in the path of destruction. People want to live in culturally vibrant communities and among unspoiled landscapes suited to the hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and winter sports we enjoy.
It is laughable to hear County Commissions begging for the return of massive earth moving, erosion, threats to water, danger of explosion, and a migratory community of pipeliners who are not sowing their roots and protecting our community. What do our Commissioners think will sustain us in a few years when the boom to restaurants, bars, the housing market, groceries and gas stations has busted?
It is cultural heritage tourism, eco-tourism and long term family residence that will save our economy. And none of these are compatible with destruction of our land, water, air and public safety. Look behind the lies and plan for the long term.