Keep polluters away

To the Editor,

I empathize with Mrs. Florence Donley who last week ended her letter to the editor referring to West Virginia as “wild it is, wonderful it is not.” I believe she was referring to the Northern Panhandle, because much of our state south of Wheeling is beautiful. I-68 from Morgantown east has breathtaking vistas. The Beckley, Cass, Tygart, Bluefield, Lewisburg, and Shepherdstown areas are all gorgeous in their own right; and the crown jewels — the Shenandoah and Canaan Valleys! Even many parts of the Northern Panhandle in full bloom of late spring can be almost heaven if we ignore the blatant eyesores Mrs. Donley refers to. When I am sitting on our back deck in the early morning, smelling the freshness of the morning dew, hearing the birds chattering while perched in the plethora of trees, I commune with our Creator in gratitude. I forget the times returning home in winter from our kids in southwest Ohio where the air is so fresh, I forget to use the inhaler. But not far up river from Wheeling, on many a dreary, overcast day, a noxious cloud of sulfur dioxide diffused in vapor hangs over the river and the surrounding valley and assaults our lungs. As we approach the coke plant from the Ohio side looking over, it appears entirely charred black, like the entrance to the abyss of hell.

Many picturesque towns have a Central Park, some with bandstands. Our town has an aging, hulking steel mill dominating half the length of Main Street. The newer section for businesses is fed by Three Springs Drive, once a smooth efficient byway dispatching motorists to their desired destinations. Now, the road is a haphazard hodge-podge of patches and pot holes that require one to play dodge it. Pennsylvania Avenue from the fire station to Saint Paul’s Cemetery isn’t much better.

I marvel at the beautiful blue summer skies we have been blessed to enjoy for the last decade. But it belies the pollutants that continue to assault our health and quality of life. It was only a few years ago the hazardous waste incinerator emitted illegal emissions 50 times in one year. They just pay the fines. The coke plant daily emits pollutants above today’s acceptable health standards because it is grandfathered every time it changes hands.

Now a battery recycler that polluted when located in Georgia changed its mind about locating in Chester after a public hearing was scheduled. It now wants to locate here!

Mr. Ford, thanks but no thanks. City council, likewise. Mrs. Donley, your point is well taken.

Blaise Hogan



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