Recently I took a deep breath and moved out of my comfort zone - I met with my representatives in the West Virginia Legislature.
I was motivated by the issue of protecting people - our homes and our health - and protecting groundwater and air from the highly toxic chemicals used in "fracking" for natural gas.
Did you know that when the mainline natural gas pipe exploded under Interstate 77 last Dec.12 there was a fracking waste water injection well "right in the middle" of the disaster area, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection? There is another site within 400 feet of the Maranatha Church and another near the former Sissonville High School.
The Kanawha County Commission and our senators and delegates didn't know this. Why the secrets?
Some background information: Most of us think of fracking as an issue in Doddridge County or Wetzel County, or in Pennsylvania, where landowners face an onslaught of heavy equipment destroying roads, creating slick mud in the winter and choking dust in the summer; a swarm of workers who may or may not know what they are doing; traffic accidents and fatalities; well pads near enough to homes to turn the quality of a family's life upside down; incredible noise, fumes and light day and night.
Those who raise objections are fighting to be heard, since neighbors who sell surface access or own mineral rights, and a few local businesses and local government entities stand to gain a great deal of money. There are reasons that correct information is not reaching our Legislature.
This industrial catastrophe is a major concern for the Mountain Party and our executive committee has been working to understand why residents aren't being protected from this onslaught.
Our Llegislature is often dependent on information from whoever knocks on their doors and takes time to educate them. Will we let them only hear from industry lobbyists whose wealth depends on how well they pitch their propaganda?
So here is what we can do. There is a bill right now in the House Judiciary Committee that is a bundle of regulations - Senate Bill 243. It has a major flaw.
An amendment was added by industry lobbyists that creates a gag order for our doctors and makes it hard for emergency responders to get information if there is a spill or explosion.
It is an amendment to help Halliburton and hurt the people. It's called the "Dirty Secrets" amendment, and it should be removed from SB 243.
Whether you live in Sissonville, Elkins or at ground zero in Doddridge County, please call your legislators and "educate them" for our safety.
Ask them to remove the "Dirty Secrets" amendment from SB 243. And then pay attention and see what your representatives do.