Children’s Safety Is Top Concern

Trans Energy is reportedly planning a natural gas well approximately half a mile from Cameron High School, though school officials are receiving little information from the company. Marshall County Schools Superintendent Michael Hince wisely took the middle ground, saying he did not want to overreact or underreact to the possibility of drilling and fracking operations near the school.

But there are, of course, concerns.

Trans Energy has always attempted to work with residents of Marshall County – attending energy task force meetings and responding quickly to road problems – according to Emergency Management Assistant Director Michael Mucheck. And, no doubt, the company will follow all the rules. The reported drilling site is outside the 625-foot distance the Department of Environmental Protection requires companies to keep from occupied dwellings. But West Virginia residents tend to want to go well past the letter of the law when it comes to safeguarding our children. School officials are concerned about the possibility of accidents. They want to know about evacuation plans, safety procedures for the school and dozens of large trucks likely rumbling each day out the road that runs past the school.

Again, Cameron Assistant Principal Wyatt O’Neil took a reasonable approach in acknowledging the benefits these energy companies have brought to our state, but reminding us the drilling boom has been “an adjustment for us all.”

Trans Energy officials should get in touch with school officials to answer every question thrown at them.

If the company’s plan is not entirely to the satisfaction of school officials, Trans Energy should re-evaluate the site, as Chesapeake Energy did when it decided to retrieve gas through a different site rather than build a well pad near Wheeling Park High School.