With the natural gas pipeline all but certain now to cut through Berkeley Springs and Morgan County, West Virginia, delivering fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to somewhere east of here, citizens opposed to the project are now shifting their focus to the November elections.
The goal – remove from office local elected officials who supported the pipeline project.
“Sadly, the Transcanada/Mountaineer Gas pipeline has now been approved by the states and is under construction, in spite of the huge outcry against it by citizens of the Eastern Panhandle,” said Tracy Cannon, one of the lead organizers against the pipeline.
“Citizens’ objections to this ill-advised project have fallen on deaf ears with our local politicians,” Cannon said. “In fact, one local official even had to gall to mock his constituents.”
“On August 2nd of last year, a group of at least 50 pipeline opponents packed the Morgan County courthouse to ask the County Commission to withdraw their support for the project. Commissioner Bob Ford told landowner Patricia Kesecker that the anti-pipeline group was only there to create ‘a spectacle’ and that opponents were ‘living in fantasy land’ if they hoped to stop the project. He claimed that the pro-pipeline county commission had tried to help the Kesecker family in their fight against the out of state gas companies.”
“State Senator Charles Trump and Delegate Daryl Cowles both attended a public meeting held by the Maryland Department of the Environment in Hancock, Maryland on December 19th of last year. They were two of the five attendees who spoke in favor of the pipeline at the meeting. The vast majority of the 50 speakers that evening opposed the project.”
Cannon said that Trump and Cowles have each taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.
“Cowles and Trump and others from the Eastern Panhandle signed on to an op-ed piece in favor of the proposed pipeline printed in the Martinsburg Journal on August 6, 2017. The publication of this piece came only a day after members of the Eastern Panhandle delegation had attended a dinner held for them in Martinsburg sponsored by natural gas industry spokesperson Natalie Cox of EQT company.”
“Many of us find our representatives’ lack of regard for our objections to the pipeline infuriating,” Cannon said. “For this reason, a coalition of citizens has formed to vote out our tone-deaf reps. In particular, we would like to see Morgan County Commission Bob Ford, Senator Charles Trump and Delegates Daryl Cowles and Saira Blair replaced by members of our community who will hear our voices.”