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Can’t Fight Injustice With Another Injustice

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

Many were shocked to find that the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority’s chairman, Bill Hughes, is being sued by Lackawanna, owner and operator of Wetzel County Landfill.

Hughes is popular in Wetzel County, and surrounding areas, for his knowledge of the Marcellus Shale drilling industry. He has also been fairly outspoken in his criticism on the industry and its possible environmental effects. We cannot fault him when he says he is worried about the future of his grandchildren. Whether we agree with his views or not, we can respect him for being passionate about his work.

Yet, Hughes cannot fight an injustice with another injustice.

JP Mascaro III, the nephew of Lackawanna owner Pat Mascaro, was right when he said the discussion at the Thursday, March 3 meeting was not about whether a person likes landfills or not. Frankly, it wasn’t about whether drilling waste is safe or not either. The problem arises with the possibility that action was taken without the solid waste authority’s approval. If Hughes did intervene in Lackawanna’s application before the PSC, then he should resign.

Furthermore, this legal action taken by Lackawanna should serve as an awakening for the authority as an entity.

The Chronicle has been covering the county’s solid waste authority meetings for several months now. The hours-long meetings are filled with bickering with very little to show. New Martinsville City Councilwoman Iris Isaacs pleaded with the authority at their March 3 meeting to prioritize and work together, and with other agencies.

It is far past time to prioritize, and perhaps the March 3 meeting was a turning point for the authority. We can only hope.

Authority member Mark Cochran asked the authority if funds that were spent on legal fees could have been put to better use – for recycling and litter control.

He also asked if the citizens of the county have been done a disservice.

These are good questions, ones we should all like answered.