When she was a teenager, Tracy Cannon came with her dad to the Charles Town Race Track. She was attracted to the beauty of the area and decided to attend Shepherd College.
With the exception of a stint in Germany, she’s been in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia ever since.
For the last couple of years, she’s been working with Eastern Panhandle Protectors to defend the region from an assault from TransCanada and Mountaineer Gas – the two companies behind the proposed pipeline project that will bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania, under the Potomac River, through Berkeley Springs and Morgan County and into Berkeley County.
Cannon says that right from the beginning, she could see that Mountaineer Gas was using predatory practices against the landowners in Morgan and Berkeley County.
“The landowners felt manipulated and bullied,” Cannon told Russell Mokhiber, host of This Week in Morgan County. “People were taken advantage of. Two people were paid $500. Fifty-nine landowners received less than $4,000 to have a pipeline on their property in perpetuity – with all the risks that come with that.”
Cannon said that people who signed early, before the opposition to the pipeline was organized, were given far less money than those who fought the pipeline company.
“People have told me that they were told — if you don’t take this money now, we will take you to court, we will sue you for eminent domain, you will lose and we will take your land for nothing – which is completely false,” Cannon said. “They have to give people fair compensation.”
Cannon doubts the economic development benefits to the region — benefits being touted by the entire political leadership in the region. Not one elected official is on the record opposing the pipeline.
And she says that the risks of the pipeline cutting through residential areas — with part of the route cutting right between two neighboring houses — have been underestimated.