The View from Calhoun County
Given the topic of my last post, this is a good time to point out exactly what the subtitle of this blog means.
We in Calhoun County, WV, particularly those of us who live out in the country, have a particular view of our situation. Our view is that the bad roads, the extended power blackouts, the long drives are all worth it, because we live in a beautiful place where we help each other and the powers that be leave us alone.
We put up with a lot to live where we live, but it’s worth it to us. As my nearest neighbor would say, most of us feel blessed to live here.
Our remoteness can lead to big problems when large industrial corporations like AEP and Allegheny Energy start looking for places to put their equipment. People in cities and tourists in “scenic areas” don’t want to see ugly transmission lines.
So where do the planners in Columbus, OH and Charleston, WV look? They look for “remote” areas “where nobody lives.” Guess what? We are here. These are our homes and farms.
I have neighbors who face having their land taken for PATH who have just experienced five days without power because Allegheny Energy can’t maintain their distribution system in our community. From our point of view, it makes no sense that we should give up our land so that someone hundreds of miles away can get West Virginia electricity while we can’t get reliable service to our homes.
The downward spiral of decaying quality of life, destruction of local farm economies and exploitation of land by far off corporations is now a permanent way of life in rural America. Those of us who are left, like many of those who lived here before us, aren’t going to give up without a fight.
The view from Calhoun County is that we have a lot to fight for to keep AEP/Allegheny’s industrial “progress” out of our community. To a lot of people, we look hard-headed and more than a little eccentric. So be it. That’s who we are.
Update: As of Thursday morning, Dec. 24, the sixth day of the Calhoun County blackout, there are still 640 customers without power, almost 14% of the county. More than 20% of customers in Roane and Jackson Counties are still without power after six days. Not only would PATH not solve Calhoun County’s current blackout problem, it will deprive us of investment that is needed to restore our distribution system which has already broken down.