Wheeling Officials Will Be Held Accountable

Editor, News-Register:

An open letter to members of Wheeling City Council:

Those of us who have concerns about the Green Hunter Water facility in Warwood have come before this body on a number of occasions to express our concerns to you as council members and detail reasons why we feel that the plant should not be permitted to operate within the city limits of Wheeling.

By this time you know that our concerns include the following:

The potential adverse health effects on our citizens in terms of air and water pollution.

The potential for adverse long-term environmental effects to our community and the increased probability of danger to the health and safety of the citizens of our community due to the transporting, storage, and disposal of the liquid and solid wastes that are produced by the hydraulic fracturing process.

The potential for dangerous situations for our first-responders who are arriving on the scene of accidents without a clear knowledge of what substances they are dealing with due to exemptions in place at the federal level which allows trucks transporting these wastes to be run without standard hazardous-warnings placards.

The potential for compromising the integrity of the city’s drinking water supply as well as the drinking water of all of the communities down river from Wheeling.

The potential for placing our citizens into hazardous situations which may affect their safety and quality of life.

We are aware, as you should be, that the federal government of the United States and the state government of West Virginia have in effect abdicated all responsibility to regulate this industry by exempting waste products produced in the hydraulic fracturing process from virtually every important federal environmental law that normally would serve to regulate the industry. The state of West Virginia has been likewise absent in creating and enforcing laws at the state level. Both the state and federal government have jumped onto the money train and seem unaware that the engineer has passed out and the brakes on the train don’t work. As such, a crash is inevitable.

That is why it is essential that our local political leaders do not follow suit and actually exhibit some leadership as to this issue in protecting the health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of our community.

At the very least, the city of Wheeling should enforce laws that are already on the books. See Section 1343.05 Required Performance Standards Section, Required Performance Standards number 10 Radioactivity of the Wheeling City Code, which makes reference to Title 10 Chapter I Part 20, Code of Federal Regulations, Standards for Protection Against Radiation.

Although at least one of you has gone on record disputing the premise put forth by Dr. Ben Stout that Wheeling is essentially “on its own” in this matter, I assert that that is, in fact, the case.

We as citizens have a duty to speak up and you as our representatives of local government have a responsibility to enact measures to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the people of our community.

If you fail to make an effort to intercede, and when the inevitable accident occurs, you will be held personally responsible not only as named defendants in civil lawsuits, but also by the community at large for failing to uphold the responsibilities of your elected position.

We will not forget your actions of the lack thereof. We will not forget your voting record on this and other important issues that come before you.

While I know that several of you do not plan to serve past your current term, I suspect that some of you will seek re-election in two years. To those of you whose political ambitions extend beyond the end of the current term of office, make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to field and support alternative candidates in your wards in order to defeat your next election bid. Consider yourself warned.

Robert C. Heyer

Wheeling Water Warriors