Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Oct. 9 letters to the editor

‘Permitting reform’ more harmful than not

Hoppy Kercheval’s column (“Manchin’s Miscalculation,” Sept. 30) repeats claims from Sens. Manchin and Capito, who relied on industry propaganda calling for “permitting reform” and weakening the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA has, for over50 years, required federal agencies to objectively analyze environmental impacts of proposed projects and to involve the public who will be affected by those agency decisions. This approach is both good science and good public policy. Rational decisions are best made with all the facts, and since agencies cannot be expected to know everything about the impacts of their proposals, getting input from those with expertise and interest just makes sense.

Unfortunately, this approach requires that agencies actually listen to people and consider their concerns. Agencies get into trouble when they try to rubber-stamp a decision already made, rather than objectively considering all the issues and reasonable alternatives.

The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a classic example of this flawed approach. Courts tend to defer to agency expertise except when the agency is so arbitrary and capricious as to violate federal law. MVP keeps losing in court, not because environmentalists are obstructionists, but because it really is a bad idea — one that violates federal laws meant to protect all of us. The federal agencies that have pushed this have generated NEPA analyses that are so obviously flawed that courts have repeatedly asked that they be redone.

The claim that MVP is needed for domestic security and to supply Europe ignores climate change and the urgent need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. Investing billions in a project that will not be completed in time to help Ukraine, but that will be obsolete before it pays for itself, while imposing excessive environmental costs on our land and water, is exactly the kind of bad decision that NEPA is intended to prevent.

In a democracy, legitimate permitting reform would not need to rely on a bill that would arbitrarily mandate a single project and prohibit any appeal by citizens.

Jim Kotcon
W.Va. Chapter of the Sierra Club

Mon County Schools right to ban Pride flag

I’m writing to commend Superintendent Campbell and the Monongalia County Board of Education for upholding the ban on Pride flags.

Those who display a Pride flag do not tolerate other views or even basic biology. The Pride flag stands for much more than simply a “safe zone.” The Pride flag stands for the acceptance of a same-sex lifestyle and the mutilation of the body through transgender surgery, as well as for a system of belief that requires everyone to adhere to its precepts. A person who displays a Pride flag has zero tolerance for those who oppose his or her views.

If a Pride flag would be allowed to be displayed in classrooms, then, using the same logic, I argue that every classroom should also have a crucifix in it in order that Christians may feel “safe.” After all, today’s cultural climate is much more discriminating toward Catholicism than to those in the Pride movement.

One should not need a flag to feel “safe.” A safe atmosphere in our public schools is promoted when the fundamental dignity of the human person is upheld in our classrooms.

Even if we differ on personal lifestyle choices, we should be able to peacefully agree to disagree or engage in healthy debate. The Pride movement does not allow for peaceful debate, though. It represents a narrowminded view and a zero-tolerance level for those who do not hold this view. Therefore, displaying a Pride flag does not offer a “safe space.” It discriminates against those who view our identity to be more than simply our sexual orientation.

We need to be able to have peaceful conversations about our differences in the hope of seeking unity. The displaying of the Pride flag offers no room for this sort of dialogue.

Rev. Fr. Brian J. Crenwelge
Pastor of St. John University Catholic Parish

MHS protest in spirit of modern schools’ founder

I am not sure if many of you are aware, but the land that Morgantown High sits on was given as a gift to the Monongalia County School Board by Alexander Wade. In the 1870s, Alexander Wade was the superintendent of Mon County Schools.

When Alexander Wade began as an educator, most schools were rural and consisted of one room and one teacher. Wade created a way of organizing their studies using eight distinctive levels of criteria. Once one completed these levels, one received a diploma.

Wade then toured the country, lecturing on this revolutionary idea. His book, “A Graduating System for Country Schools,” became the basis of what school systems look like here and in many parts of the world today.

Alexander Wade was also an ordained Methodist minister. He believed that all children, regardless of social circumstance, should have access to an education and to God’s love.

On Sept. 28, many of your children, and mine, were standing on the grounds of Alexander Wade’s former estate, attending an educational institution based on the system he created.

My two students are Alexander Wade’s two-times great-grandchildren. A living legacy of his gift to this community. My son bears his name.

It is especially poignant to note that a Methodist minister from our community, Jenny Williams, stood on the sidelines and cheered them on.

I have seen many hateful words circulated in our community in response to this event. I reject them. These people will never see the beauty of what happened.

Our children stood together on the former estate of an educator and man of God and they honored Alexander Wade in honoring God’s most important commandment, “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.”

Adrianne Dering

Becoming a recovery coach/life coach

My name is Andre Thomas and I have recently completed the Recovery Coach/Life Coach 1 program through Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment (GRaCE) — a 501c3 non-profit organization.

I feel like this class is beneficial to me because I now have a direct understanding of addiction and various life skills that I’ve never had previously. I believe coaching is beneficial to our community because it gives you the skills to help others in need through active listening, educating about addiction and also assisting with problem-solving and coping skills that you need in everyday life.

For more information about becoming a coach or about GRaCE, please visit www.StrengthinGRaCE.com.

Andre Thomas

In support of Fleischauer for state Senate 13

I endorse Barbara Evans Fleischauer for West Virginia Senate District 13 (parts of Monongalia and Marion counties). I have known Barbara for 40 years and have long admired her experience, work ethic and dedication to the people of West Virginia.

Barbara is a mother, grandmother and passionate fighter for women’s rights. She believes women and their doctors should make decisions about having children, abortion or contraception — not the government. She opposed HB 302, limiting women’s rights to abortion and threatening physicians with loss of their medical licenses.

West Virginians for Life-PAC endorses Mike Oliverio, her opponent. He doesn’t state his position on HB 302, but, when in the Legislature, he sponsored numerous bills limiting access to abortion. When he ran for Congress in 2010, a national anti-choice group made 80,000 calls for him.

The National Right to Life Committee’s “model legislation” would outlaw abortion “except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother.” Enforcing this means the government would force victims of rape and incest to bear the child of their perpetrator.

The West Virginia Troopers Association, United Mine Workers of America, West Virginia Education Association and American Federation of Teachers endorse Barbara, and she received an award from the West Virginia Troopers Association.

In contrast, Oliverio was the state co-chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide far-right group that provides “model legislation” to legislatures to enact a conservative agenda.

Barbara voted against the proposed Amendment 2 in the House of Delegates, as it could bankrupt county and municipal governments and school districts by leaving funding decisions to the Legislature. Oliverio supports this amendment.

Go to www.friendsofbarbara.com to learn more about Barbara’s legislative accomplishments and her honors and awards. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Barbara4WVSenate.

Early voting starts Oct.  26. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Barb Howe

Fla.’d be in worse shape with all green energy

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Florida.

Now, let’s pretend that all of Florida went totally “green.” How long do you think it would take to replace millions of solar panels, thousands of EV charging stations, millions of cars, trucks, buses and emergency vehicles, etc? But let’s not forget the damaged wind turbines and solar panel farms.

Since most of the above, including EV batteries and chips, come from China, I would imagine it might take many, many months, if not years. We need to have all types of energy not just green.

Mary Monahan

Allow the Pride flag back in classrooms

The Morgantown chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is disappointed by the Board of Education’s recent decision to ban Pride flags in Morgantown High School.

We stand firmly with our community’s LGBTQ+ students and educators, and we urge the board to allow Pride flags to be displayed in classrooms. High school is a critical time of identity development for young people, and the value of a welcoming and supporting environment is immense.

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, reports that LGBTQ+ students are four times as likely as their peers to attempt suicide. However, having at least one accepting adult in their life can reduce the risk of a suicide attempt by 40%.

School is often the only opportunity students have to find acceptance. MHS students have reported that removing the flags has made them feel less safe and less welcomed at school. Visual indicators celebrating a student’s identity are critical to their feelings of community, acceptance and safety.

As an MHS alumna, I loved seeing the national flags of all my classmates displayed around the cafeteria. It was a reminder that our student body was diverse, vibrant and welcoming to all. It was not a political statement; it was a way to embrace our students and remind them that their identities were valued.

MHS’s Code of Conduct calls us to treat each other with compassion, care and respect. Let us extend this principle to our LGBTQ+ students. Displaying Pride flags isn’t political; it’s about meeting young people where they are and creating space that is safe and conducive to their growth and learning.

We call on the Board of Education to let teachers display Pride flags in their classrooms.

Catherine Gooding