Water situation calls for expert advice - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Water situation calls for expert advice

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  • Traffic stop in Smithers leads to prescription pill arrest

    Traffic stop in Smithers leads to prescription pill arrest

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-08-20 14:44:33 GMT
    The Fayette County Sheriff's Office announced that deputies made a drug arrest on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 after pulling a car over on an equipment violation. Jeremy Louis Bufford, 34, of Smithers is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver.
    The Fayette County Sheriff's Office announced that deputies made a drug arrest on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 after pulling a car over on an equipment violation. Jeremy Louis Bufford, 34, of Smithers is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver.
  • Princeton celebrates Batman's 75th year anniversary

    Princeton celebrates Batman's 75th year anniversary

    Princeton celebrates Batman's 75th year anniversary

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:06 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:06:20 GMT
    Mercer street in Princeton is home to many festivals throughout the year, but this time, they have a pretty unique festival hitting the streets.In honor of the 75th year anniversary of Batman, the town will celebrate.Organizers say it's not just about the super hero, but what the super hero has done for families."Some people use them as bedtimes stories for their kids. The movies, we've all grown up to see a cartoon movie or show so we all have a memory of the character," Bryan Austin said.Au...
    Mercer street in Princeton is home to many festivals throughout the year, but this time, they have a pretty unique festival hitting the streets.In honor of the 75th year anniversary of Batman, the town will celebrate.Organizers say it's not just about the super hero, but what the super hero has done for families."Some people use them as bedtimes stories for their kids. The movies, we've all grown up to see a cartoon movie or show so we all have a memory of the character," Bryan Austin said.Au...
  • WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:04 AM EDT2014-08-20 11:04:01 GMT
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
  • Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Friday, August 8 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-08-08 10:00:18 GMT
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.
  • Successful privatization should inspire more reform

    Successful privatization should inspire more reform

    Friday, August 1 2014 1:48 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:48:52 GMT
    It’s not a stretch to say West Virginia once had the dubious distinction of having the worst workers’ compensation system in the nation.
    It’s not a stretch to say West Virginia once had the dubious distinction of having the worst workers’ compensation system in the nation.

We are almost a month out from the chemical spill on the Elk River near Charleston that tainted the water supply for nearly 300,000 people. 

Despite being told the water is safe, countless people in and around the affected area are not using it. Maybe what's coming out of the tap will not poison us or make us sick, but, the fact is, we cannot be sure. As this event has unfolded, those charged with keeping us safe and allaying our fears have yet to truly do so. This is a crisis and those in charge need to start treating it as such. 

No one is on the same page, and we are getting mixed information from those who are supposed to be in the know. Hopefully, as scientific experts and those more versed in handling these types of events begin their investigations, a clearer picture will begin to emerge and we'll have a better understanding of how to proceed. 

One thing we're certain of is that the economic harm has been devastating and it could get worse. This week, an economist at Marshall University estimated that the economy in and around the Charleston area took a multimillion dollar hit. Most affected by the loss of water were small businesses. These enterprises are already living in a tough market, often surviving by razor-thin profit margins. Many had to go without water for days and now many are relying almost exclusively on bottled water while trying to regain the public's trust. None of this is helping the bottom line. 

When we consider the larger picture, how do we promote and market a place where you cannot drink the water? Members of the business community are concerned, and they have every right to be. No one is diminishing the importance of pushing our state forward through legislation that encourages businesses to grow and invest, but that is simply window dressing if we are unable to attract and retain the kind of human capital needed to compete in the 21st Century. Right now, if someone has a choice between a job in Charleston and a job in Charlotte, which one would that person take? The Capital City is a wonderful place, but if what comes out of the tap in someone's potential home or apartment looks and smells like what's been coming out of our taps, that someone would be hard pressed not to go south. 

As we have said before, now is the time for action. What is the planning being given to how we come out the other side of this issue? We need to be proactive. This is classic crisis management. Do we have properly skilled professionals involved who can advise us what needs to be done at both a state and local level? We cannot change what happened, but we must do all we can to ensure that something like this never happens again.