by Marilyn Howells
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:  Southwest WV a Sacrifice Zone; Pipeline Comment Period Ends Today

The Mountaineer Express, Gulf Xpress, and Leach Xpress pipelines proposed by  Columbia Pipeline Group apparently  interconnect from northern points in West Virginia (Ohio and Pennsylvania), heading to the Ceredo compressor station to Marathon’s Catlettsburg refinery and from there southward to the Gulf  Coast for export. In all there will be nine high pressure pipelines in this area with two dangerously under the Ohio River.   As the USA already exports gas products,  will this not just free up more for export? 


 The 165 mile Mountaineer Express affects Roane,  Putnam, Cabell, and Jackson counties in our area and ties into the much older, more risky SM-80 in Cabell and Wayne counties. It appears to be on a diagonal from Milton to cross Rt.  152 a little north of Huntington traveling along north of Rt. 75, crossing Spring Valley Dr. a few blocks from Rt. 75,  finally crossing to south of Rt. 75 just before Dock's Creek, through the historic Docks Creek Commentary, and out to Big Sandy, but also toward Walker Branch and an apparently massively expanding compressor station.

It can bring gas, and eventually hydrocarbons and fracked substances from a number of states to be processed in Tri State. It serves as a Trojan horse that also will encourage fracking locally in Kanawha, Roane, Boone, Putnam, Jackson, Lincoln,  and Wayne counties, and nearby Ohio and Ky. 


FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, linked the Mountaineer Xpress and the Gulf Express pipelines into one Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The comment period for this is through Monday,  April 24. Submit any concerns you have on Mountaineer Express Pipeline it in writing or electronically. I notice  WV Rivers Coalition at has on it's home page under topic labeled latest news, a link Mountaineer Express to submit comments, talking points, and to FERC where comments can be made through the Internet.  Protect your property, and it's value, and health, with a short comment on their site. Refer to Docket No. CP 16-367-000.  

Also, ask them to extend the comment period, so others will have more time to comment. Why did they not put maps of the routes and required evacuation zones in the newspaper and then hold comment meeting in each of the counties and all cities heavily affected? Why were letters not sent to all in the evacuation zones?


A number of countries and some states, and even municipalities have banned fracking.  New York, Vermont, France, Germany, Bulgaria, etc. Others have set moratoriums.  There are 1000s of groups formed against more pipelines and compressor stations, fracking, and millions of articles.  Farmers, Indians, homeowners, hunters, fishermen, environmentalists, taxpayers, gardeners, those with health issues caused by or worsened by the industry, those with ruined wells, and others all protest.

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy at under Learn More tab - Environmental and Health Overview has links to many studies. The many risks, problems and dangers include spills, leaks, surface and groundwater,  air and soil contamination,  damage to air quality (up to three miles from pumping/compressors),  decline in property values, road damage, infrastructure expense to counties, required evacuation plans about two miles wide or more the entire length of the pipeline, landslides risk, dust and dirt, clogged roads, perhaps increases in homeowners insurance costs, many health problems including respiratory, contaminated wells and streams etc. due to spills, as well a fires (remember the highway and houses destroyed near Sissonville), water withdrawals, earthquakes and pressure for  forced pooling with regards to fracking.

There are also several reports online and YouTube by Dr. Wilma Subra. See PowerPoints ..." Impacts Associated with Minisink Compressor Station" or ..."Chemicals and Pathways of Exposure from Development of Shale Gas Plays". Example of problems with pipelines, compressors, and fracking, include toxic chemicals, carcinogens, highly volatile, hydrocarbons, toxic metals, all along process and routes, and even radioactivity (with fracking), combustion products and dangerous ozone near compressor and other facilities, waste disposal, and flaring off of excess methane.  Of greater concern is the cumulative effects on health due to increased exposure to all these chemicals etc., due to the increased activities, and bio-cumulative effects on health over time. 

Certainly, no new pipelines should be approved until the entire industry fixes all leaks, and also cleans up all messes, and eliminates spills on all current lines, and facilities, and goes 5 to 10 years without any spills.

How many thousands of spill has the industry had? How many fires and explosions. No one should have to be at risk in their own home, driving down the road, or in their neighborhood and community of their being an explosion. How can be even sleep at night with such risk. And they certainly don' t need spills and leaks affecting their air and water.


Will we not be ground zero and are our citizens just more human guinea pigs? Spills large and small are rampant along pipelines, from Alaska, to Louisiana, the recent one in Ohio, all creating horrible messes and dangers. Fires are common. What if  a spill in the dry season starts a massive fire ( a different cause but massive like the one in Tenn. last year)? 

Gas product resources are finite and are suppose to dwindle in the next couple of decades. Why send them overseas? Save them for scientific and medical plastics. This is about quick profits for gas executives and corporate executives at residents expense. 


The gas is not needed for the USA , which now gets 34 to 37 % of it's electricity from non-fossil fuel. Some states, Vermont, and countries (Sweden) get all their electricity from non-fossil fuel, and other are quickly nearing this.  It's not about jobs, as most are temporary, filled mostly by out of staters, often with contracted companies (that themselves may be temporary).  Compare that for 2016 solar and wind employment exceeded 475 thousand, while gas and oil, etc., was just over 101 thousand (and many of those temporary). WV needs wind turbine and solar panel factories not all the gas company devastation and health issues, and mess especially from a large spill for taxpayers to clean up. Were not the chemicals spilled in Charleston from that Freedom's tank enough?