In your April 20 editorial you mention two basic groups in the debate concerning Marcellus Shale development: those who are “long time citizens” who oppose the disruption of their way of life, and “the companies who have come to West Virginia.”
I submit there are at least two more groups to be considered: the local businesspeople and workers who have improved lifestyles because of the increased activity; and locals who are neither working for the industry nor support the opposition to the drilling—people who are silent in their views about all that is going on. If you notice the workers are usually silent, because no one wants to be branded as being an opportunist or against the environment, and they are by nature loyal to the industry that is employing them.
The debate does not consume average citizens of the Ohio Valley who merely want to earn a fair wage and support their families.
They don’t have the luxury of traveling to the Legislature to protest, and they have not become overnight “Shaleonaires” who are suddenly wealthy because of high-dollar leases.
They represent the gray area of the populace who want to live here, but realize that living is not free. They tighten their belts and watch the complexities of the debate, and wait and see if all this is to have a real lasting impact on Wetzel County as Bayer, Ormet, and PPG have done.
They are hopeful, but they are not without resentment of being asked to believe the Shale industry will either ruin their lives, or it will run it entirely.
Perhaps the silent watchers also realize that there will always be those who want to build, those who oppose the building, and those who seek to tear down.
They will be here long after the dust from the battle has settled; they are the resilient, skeptical majority who would rather go to any job than draw unemployment, and they would rather work than debate.
Newspaper stories rarely focus on them, but they are here. They will probably not read this.
Speaking only for myself,