To the editor:
It is my perception, and our entire neighborhood's belief, that no West Virginia politician at the federal or state level cares about the Northern Panhandle. We are unfortunate enough to have settled and built our homes very close to the Little Blue coal ash unlined impoundment.
West Virginia has given away and delegated all of our rights to Pennsylvania's DEP regarding this unlined coal ash impoundment, even though West Virginia citizens are being adversely affected. It is sad that the Pennsylvania DEP comes monthly to my home and takes water samples for arsenic and other heavy metals, and yet West Virginia does nothing to help us. Neighborhoods are being destroyed with water containment construction and littered with empty houses FirstEnergy has bought, while some of us stay and fight the fight. Our soil is contaminated, our property values have significantly dropped, air pollution has significantly increased and other health issues have increased. We are even told not to eat the vegetables that we grow in our back yards.
You might direct us to our state representative, but in fact U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-Wheeling, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of big energy's political contributions, and has sponsored bills in Congress to help the energy and coal companies by not regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste. When it comes to science and geology, I guess McKinley knows more than the EPA or his businesses benefit from using coal ash as part of his raw materials.
There has to be a happy median between maintaining and creating jobs and the health and welfare of West Virginians. We obviously don't have the resources these large businesses do, but being arbitrarily dismissed as expendable for the betterment of FirstEnergy, the coal companies and McKinley's re-election campaign is unacceptable.
We just want to make you aware of this issue that affects a lot of citizens in Hancock County. There has been very little accomplished in coming to a resolution that protects the West Virginia citizens and doing what is right by the residents and the businesses.
Richard S. Fineman