No Issue is Black and White
While the issue of the Mountaineer Gas distribution line has caused much contention throughout the region, there is one thing to keep in mind: no issue is black and white.
Are there potential downsides to the line coming into the area? Yes, but there are downsides to any project – especially when land is disrupted. Are there positives to the line coming? Yes, but sometimes positives aren’t worth the potential downsides. Just like any other issue, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Possible environmental concerns need to be taken into account when it comes to any sort of project of this magnitude. However, those concerns need to be understood in the scope of facts, not emotionalism. Gas leaks are possible and are especially a threat if someone begins digging and accidentally strikes a line. That is a reasonable concern.
Possible economic benefits need to be taken into account as well. However, just like the concerns, they need to be understood with facts, not simply by vague probabilities. A natural gas distribution line has the potential to increase commerce in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties. The times, they are a changin’ and natural gas is a desired commodity for businesses. There would also be the possible benefit of natural gas available to residents. Those are reasonable positive outlooks.
The answer, again, lies somewhere in the middle of it all.
We need affordable energy in this area, but we also need to make sure that the environmental impact is minimal. Solar and wind energy are the cleanest possible energy sources by far. However, neither solar nor wind energy are going to be viable sources when it comes to business growth and manufacturing. Natural gas will be able to provide that energy source with minimal environmental impact.
Both sides of this argument need to find a point of agreement regarding this distribution line. Details need to be analyzed and facts need to be gleaned. Without the proper information – accurate, unbiased information – no such agreement will ever be reached.
So, lets talk facts and come to a logical conclusion on the impacts this line will have on our community – both positive and negative. Only then can we come to any conclusion whether or not it will be a boon or a bust.