Presentation to Lewis County Commissioners, West Virginia Date: Monday, Oct. 6th, 2014 by Myra Bonhage-Hale, Steward, La Paix Herb Farm, Alum Bridge, WV 26321, Lewis County. (304) 269-7681, firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.lapaixherbfarm.com Commissioners: email@example.com
Agnes G. Queen, President firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick D. Boyle, Commissioner email@example.com
Thomas V. Fealy, Commissioner firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Cindy Whetsell, Administrator email@example.com
Phyllis Corathers, Assistant Administrator 110 Center Avenue, 2nd Floor
PO Box 466 Weston, WV 26452 304-269-8200
Good Morning Commissioners Queen, Boyle and Fealy. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to tell you of my concerns for La Paix Herb Farm and Lewis County and West Virginia and the world.
When I came to West Virginia as a single parent to the abandoned farm now known as La Paix I thought of it as “Almost Heaven”. In the thirty-four years I have been here, I have worked hard to make La Paix – its beautiful gardens, woods, wild life, 1890 Victorian Farmhouse with attached Log Cabin (circa 1850) what it could always be – the bones of fantastic beauty were there – but I was able to put my blood, sweat, tears, laughter, Joy, Love and Peace into what it is today – having apprentices from WV colleges earn credits in Environmental Studies, apprentices from Japan, India and elsewhere, a Lavender Fair for nine years, workshops, and serene surroundings. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
Until just recently, I planned to live here for my forever and be able to give its beauty to my children, Bill and Kathleen, and my granddaughter, Aijah.
It all began when rumors started circulating about fracking moving into Lewis County, culminating in a very uninforming, disrespectful “open house” given by Consol Energy. I took these signs to that meeting: Show 3 signs: 1. Obligation to National Historic Landmark, 2. How many wells do you plan to drill and 3. How much water does it take to drill a Marcellus shale well? There and later, the answers seem to be: 1. No obligation to National Historic Landmark evident – just log into WV EPA for a notice of intent to drill which will be there and in the local
newspaper (subscribe to the Weston Democrat) about 30 days before the permit is granted.
Then I can tell them this is a National Historic Landmark. 2. How many wells? 288 mile to mile wells in Western Lewis County where La Paix lives. Over 300 to be drilled in Lewis County “making it change from a rural area to an industrial site” a/c to the WV EPA advocate. 3. How much water and where does it come from? Approximately 5 million gallons a water a well purportedly coming from Lewis Co. water supplies but rumor has it that the water is coming from the Ohio River which has already gone down an inch from the vast amounts of water taken from it. Where does the contaminated water go? In open pits – the water containing over 265 different chemicals, some of them carcinogenic.
Litte red flags dot Crooked Run Rd. – the 2.5 miles to my home at La Paix. They denote, I am told by an employee of the surveying company, SIS, where the seisomograph machine will test whether there is Marcellus shale gas under the earth. There is one way in and one way out Crooked Run. This means if drilling is done here it will be difficult for children to get to school, others to get to work and in medical emergencies.
So I have here some Green Flags – green for the earth, green for sustainability, green for Love that grows. I have a little information on each subject to disperse today and I will give a brief outline of what the various issues mean.
The first flag is Respect. We little people, who only own the surface rights, who are here to enjoy nature, our families and each other – we don’t get much respect. Flag says: Respect Obligations to National Historic Registered Properties Like La Paix?
Handout: Poster Why Not Frack Farmland – Millions of gallons of fracking fluid contains 632 chemicals: 25% affect hormones 40-50% affect kidneys and nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. 75% affect sensory organs and respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Methane gas is 17 times higher near fracking sites. 60% of wells leak over a 30 year period. Toxic wastewater, often radioactive is stored in open pits before being trucked away. Other posters in this handout show
more disrespect for the land and those near it. https://www.google.com/search?q=Fracking+Accident+Images&rlz=1C1SAVI_enUS526US527&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=979&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=oEwxVJ_NHYudyATyiYCADw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg
2nd Green Flag: Resist (how fracking pollutes water wells) France May Ban Fracking, cites US disasters “Recent reports indicate fracking may indeed be more dangerous for the environment and lead to global warming at rates much higher than previously thought. Pollutes water supplies, kills wild life and destroys the quality of life in communities where it takes place.” http://rt.com/usa/france-fracking-us-disasters-749
The Third Flag is Resist. Fracking: The New Global Water Crisis.”Projections Show Entire Ohio River Watershed to be Damaged by Fracking by Duane Nichols on Oct. 1, 2014. Press Release http://www.frackcheckwv.net/ Ohioans are beginning to realize that unconventional shale drilling uses a great deal of water, permanently ruining it for other uses. But what they may not know is fracked gas and oil wells in Ohio are turning out to be less productive over time, with more water needed so the effects of water usage are rising. Now, each time a Utica well is fracked in Ohio, over 7 million gallons of water is needed on average per well….cumulative effects are being seen…..water loss expected to be 18.5 billion gallons in the next 5 years.
The fourth flag is Resist: Fire in Well in West Virginia Burning Out of ControlThe next handout is http://www.frackcheckwv.net/2014/09/30/private-waer-wells-under-threat-in-doddridge-cunt-wv/ The WV Dept of EPA has issued a notice of violation to Antero resources for a well drilling incident that could have released methane gas into 12 personal water wells…..Three water wells closest in proximity to the Primm Pad have been disconnected. Antero provided water buffaloes, which are large water storage containers…..Nine additional wells could be impacted. In the unincorporated community of Joy.
The fifth flag is Respect: The Social Costs of Fracking – A Pennsylvania Case Study: Report Exposes Social Costs of Fracking on Rural America by Sharon Kelly http://ecowatch.com/2013/09/24/social-costs-of-fracking-rural-america First,
residents often say, there’s the traffic. Communities have been unexpectedly flooded with heavy tractor trailers that locals say turn 10 minute-commutes into hour-long ordeals, choke back roads and decimate pavement… A “wild west” atmosphere that brings with it increased crime and public health problems. A new report by Food and Water Watch examines the social impacts of fracking in rural Pa. counties.: transient workers, Disorderly conduct arrests. The Most-fracked Pa. communities have experienced steep upticks in drunken driving, traffic violations
and bar fights – researchers calculated the financial burden imposed on rural counties by traffic accidents alone, $28. Million.
And The Human Story: http://www.frackcheckwv.net/impacts/the-human-story PA. Bradford County. On the Water and More blog, well water contaminated with heavy metals, found barium, arsenic and volatile organic chemicals in Carl’s blood, Strontium, uranium and radim were found in their water radiation level in home is 13.7 or 7 times that set by EPA as standard not to b exceeded. Carl died of intestinal cancer. Kim McE: Butler Co., PA water contaminated with arsenic and methyl chloride. Arsenic poisoning – Haney famil. Natural gas in Medina County well water is potentially explosive.
The Sixth Flag is RENEW: This is what we could be doing instead – for clean energy, for eco tourism for a sustainable economy. Ecowatch http://ecowatch.com/2014/10/03/iea-solar-energy-global-electricity-surce/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm-campaign=fc2bcbc4c1-Top-News-10-4 Solar Energy Could be Largest Source of Global Electricity by 2050. Ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, according to two new reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The Green Market Oracle http://www.thegreenmarketoracle.com/2014-05-01archive.html Various applications of solar energy.
Ecotourism – there will be no ecotourism in Lewis County – and it is the 2nd largest source of revenue in West Virginia. We are destroying our landscape in the name of quick profits for a few people. Ecotourism is a viable business for small scale
practitioners like La Paix. Nobody wants to tour a fracking site – oh maybe some diehards, but it will not bring fame to WV, infamy perhaps.
And again, The Green Oracle – Divesting from Fossil Fuels will soon be a Fiduciary Duty – There is a powerful argument that can be made suggesting that fiduciaries for endowments will soon have a legal responsibility to divest from fossil fuels, whether they are for universities, colleges, foundations or other institutions, they are charged with the “duty of care”.
The last flag I shall Wave as I say Goodbye is Respect: The sign on this flag is a replica of a church sign which says “Dear GOD, Oh Lord Please save our Town I
love my earthly home (1) 6 “ pipeline leak 1 Diesel Fuel Spill 1 Hydraulic Fluid Spill 2 Broken Hearts Home of Our Grandchildren Please help, I ask in Jesus name, Collins Rd., ….Okic Acre Farm Bruce D. Kennedy.
New Yorkers Against Fracking Fracking Causes Health Impacts PA. Fracking Victims Come to Albany to Detail Serious Health Issues. As the State rapidly approaches the deadline to decide whether to allow fracking to go forward in NY, residents from across Pa. came forward to tell legislators their stories. Highlighting stories of dead cows and poisoned water, contaminated groundwater, air pollution, illness, death and reproductive problems in cows, horses and wildlife; and human health problems. See more on handouts. http://againstfracking.org/take-action/fracking-causes-healthimpracts/
West Virginia Surface Owner Rights Organization http://www.wvsoro.org/ information for surface owners.
And – Fracking the American Dream Drilling Decreases Property Values. Increasingly, as oil and gas development is butting up against, and often trampling, the bedrock American principles of property rights and the value of one’s home. Map shows all shale gas in play in North America. The clash of large-scale industrial activity and communities has surfaced a deep rift in the American landscape, where the legal doctrine of split estates allows one party to own mineral
rights and someone else to hold the rights to soil and surface. With the oil and gas industry showing little self-restraint in where drilling happens and almost no regulatory or legal precedents to protect them from having industrial activity in their back yards, communities are fighting back. Increased truck traffic, chemicals, lights, noise, heavy equipment, noxious air emissions and water contamination are liabilities for landowners, to point that communities in Colorado, New York and other states have taken matters into their own hands.
In the Catskills, fracking fears have already impacted the real estate market even though the state has yet make a determination on whether to allow drilling. …..”spooked potential buyers” in upstate NY.
A study at Duke Univ. found risks and potential liabilities of drilling outweigh economic benefits like lease payments and potential economic development….possibility of contaminated water decreases property value by an average of 24%…… A 2010 study of the Texas real estate market in heavily drilled
suburban Dallas concluded that homes valued at more than $250,000 within 1000 feet of a drilling pad saw values decrease by 3 to 14 %.
In N. Texas appraisal review board knocked down the appraised value of one family’s home and 10 acre ranchette from $257,000 to $75,000 – a decrease of more than 70 %. Board agreed to the extraordinary reduction as a result of numerous environmental problems related to fracking – just one year after the first drilling rig went up on the property.
I am asking the Commissioners: “Have you leased your property in Lewis County or elsewhere in WV for Marcellus shale drilling or other related gas projects?”
As I leave West Virginia, with my 34 years of hard work and love and Joy and friendship at La Paix behind me, I think of West Virginia as “Almost Hell”. La Paix is for sale. La Paix means peace. I plan to take it with me. The powers that be will not let me keep it here. www.lapaixherbfarm.com