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WV Town Says Shale Mine Would Hit Like a “Ton of Bricks”

March 14, 2008

Gerrardstown, WV – Residents of the West Virginia community of Gerrardstown are worried they may be hit with a ton of bricks. The Continental Brick Company has bought a parcel of mountain land in the area, which lies in the panhandle near the Virginia border. Residents are concerned that if a shale mine and brick factory are in the works, they could damage drinking water, harm historic sites and drive down property values.

Wendy Hudock, Gerrardstown, says hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing any such development. It's not because residents oppose economic development, she says, but because they reckon that large-scale shale extraction and brick production aren't what the historic residential area needs.

"We're respectful of our history and our beautiful natural environment, and we're just worried about century-old trees and other flora being ripped out or killed by pollution."

Lynn Hayes has a farm and hunting land near the affected area. He worries about the impact of shale mining on hunting, trapping and farming, as well as the risks to spring water and well water.

"They say we're not going to have water or sewer on this end of town for a lot of years, so what's it going to do to our water? We've all got wells in this area; there's no other water source around."

He also points to historical sites going back to the 1700s that he says would be threatened by shale mining.

The brick company says it has not yet set its plans for the land in question.

Rob Ferrett/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - WV