FROM STEVE CONLON
As a royalty owner living in rural Wetzel County, not commenting on your editorial , “Doing Better,” is not an option. If I boil it down, you are basically saying there are issues, there is bad behavior on both sides, but people are meeting and talking, and the gas guys donate to local organizations. Let me offer the following observations:
Residents have been meeting with gas companies since 2007. Rural residents fall into three categories: those who never speak up, those who speak up to friends, and those who are outspoken and interested in improving the situation. Unfortunately these meetings produce minimal improvement.
Those in Charleston who control the purse strings of the DOH have failed us. Do you realize how much the state has made off of Doolin Run Rd ? Do you realize that they patched Doolin in December with gravel?
Do you realize that I have fewer neighbors? Yes, some people have given up and moved on. Some lived on a sharp curve and the gas guys bought their house to change the road. One resident at the meeting complimented EQT on traffic management at the Martin pad, but did you know that that is the “castle” on RT 7 and the owners have moved to N.C.? The woman told me she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life complaining to the gas guys. Do you realize that on North Fork where there were seven mailboxes, today there are none?
A while back you ran an article about the Lewis Wetzel Wildlife Management Area and the money donated for wildlife enhancement. Do you realize that the gas development of that tract forever changed its beauty and wildlife potential?
You spoke of aggressive driving on both sides. I was wondering if you were referring to the day I put my truck in park on Doolin. The semi driver and escort asked me to back up, but I knew I was in the right and he was driving aggressively, so I waited for the deputy. Within 30 seconds of the deputy’s arrival, the semi was backing up. When gas guys park on the road, unload on the road and block the road, yes some other drivers realize that it is illegal and respond accordingly.
Air and water quality are also impacted when the gas development takes place. It’s a very complicated situation and hopefully the Chronicle can do a better job accurately continuing the discussion.