There are so many things going on in the political arena this year that one hardly knows where to start regarding concerns about our future and our livelihood. But I think the most important place to start has to be at our local level. I read with some concern the article about the county commission and the pipeline going through Upshur County.
Several thoughts came to mind as I read that article. First of all I’m getting pretty tired of Mr. Cutright using the word ‘jobs’ in about every other sentence as he governs our county. It’s not technically his job to find jobs — that’s the Development Authority’s job. And I’m real disappointed with Don Nestor that he’s willing to exploit one of our most precious natural resources, which is our clean water. All of this for the sake of maybe a few thousand temporary jobs and maybe 100 permanent jobs, many of which may not even employ people from our county. Whatever economic benefit we get from this pipeline project will be minimal as far as the construction and maintenance of it.
A real concern should be how they are going to spend the tax money they get from this pipeline project. I harbor no illusions about whether or not this project will be built, but I don’t think any of us really understand the impact that this project could have if anything went wrong. Maybe Mr. Nolte has some idea, as he does seem to have some sense of caution and reason and commonsense so far.
But the $2.1 million estimated taxes that would be generated from the pipeline going through our county, what are they going to do with that? Are they going to fix up the pool nobody wanted to support in the levy? Are they going to fully fund the library and take the burden off the already overburdened school system? Are they going to build more annexes, buy more police cars, give themselves a raise?
I think we should get some answers to that before they ever get that money in their pocket. Make no mistake about it, I am concerned about water contamination if there is a leak. And I am concerned if an explosion should occur near the high school or any residence. Truly either one of these catastrophes would be the worst thing to ever happen to our county in anybody’s lifetime or historical remembrance. Two million dollars a year would never make up for the losses that we would incur if such an explosion or a leak should happen.
Given the history of pipelines in this country, I think it should be a given that there will be a leak or minor catastrophe of some sort in our lifetime. Knowing this, I think we should insist that our county commissioners set aside some of that estimated $2.1 million in taxes a year to handle any crises that might occur in the future.
If our water gets contaminated, how are they going to buy everybody in our county water to drink at home? Maybe if they had a fund for pipeline catastrophes that wouldn’t be a problem. If this pipeline blows up and destroys anything, if they had some money in the pot for catastrophes or disasters, at least we could rebuild. Heaven forbid we should ever lose a life because of this pipeline, because if we did all the money in the world couldn’t replace that.
There’s a lot to think about these days folks, and I hope you’re all thinking about it to some degree. It shouldn’t keep you awake at night, but it should certainly keep you aware and alert.
Sincerely, Patrick Long