Jobs, health and West Virginia

By Eric J. Tarr - Contributing Columnist

According to the Minerals Information Institute, each person in the United States requires over 38,449 pounds of minerals each year to maintain their standard of living. The clothes you wear, the medicines your children require, any mode of transportation you use, the chair in which you sit, the cell phone with which you call your mom, the carpet you tread upon, and much, much more all depend upon the extraction industries. Some examples of consumption per year include 338 pounds of salt, 195 pounds of phosphate rock, 34 pounds of soda ash, 28 pounds of aluminum, 13 pounds of copper, 6 pounds of zinc, 535 pounds of other non-metals, plus 830 gallons of petroleum, 4,409 pounds of coal, 87,817 cubic feet of natural gas, and .2 pounds of uranium.

Our modern day health, relationships, and social structure are possible by what we as a society produce and consume, especially metallurgic, carbon, and petrochemical products such as plastics and energy. Groups that attack extraction industries are incredibly superficial in their position that the only good extraction is no extraction. Without extraction, The Sierra Club and their cohorts would be riding horses bareback from California to protest job creation in West Virginia rather than emailing letters, flying by plane, riding by rail, or driving any one of their preferred vehicles.

While our health, relationships, and social structure are intimately entangled with the extraction industries, the relentless attack on these industries has devastated the health of West Virginians. The loss of coal mining jobs, associated downstream jobs and small businesses has fueled addiction, depleted our system of health care providers, and defunded municipalities ability to maintain basic services such as sewage and water. Our loved ones have had to leave West Virginia for jobs and a better education for their children. Our jails have overcrowded. Our streets have become camps for the homeless. This is the impact of the attack on coal, the attack on fossil fuels, the attack on West Virginia by groups such as the Sierra Club.

Domestic Synthetic Fuels has chosen a Point Pleasant site to build their first $1.2 billion, diesel and jet fuel plant. The plant converts coal directly to liquid fuel with byproducts that are marketable and nothing going to a landfill. Their technology discharges nothing to the streams and produces diesel and jet fuel that burns with less emissions than petroleum refinery fuel. Domestic Synthetic Fuels has announced construction jobs, 130 permanent jobs that are stable and well paying, and another 100 coal mining jobs. The other small business jobs that grow around this project are 3 for every one hire by this sector according the SBA. This plant should be cheered by environmentalists. Yet their public comments submitted from across the country to the EPA condemn it because of use of the extraction and fossil fuel industry. This hypocrisy from our fellow consumers is deafening.

Point Pleasant, Mason County, and West Virginia should welcome this group and other entrepreneurs that invest in the people, natural, and geolocation resources of West Virginia. The public hearing for Domestic Synthetic Fuels is scheduled for 6 p.m., July 30, at the Mason County Courthouse. Please plan to attend and explain what a business of this caliber does for the health, relationships, and community for the families of Mason County.

By Eric J. Tarr

Contributing Columnist

State Senator Eric J. Tarr represents the Fourth Senatorial District which includes Mason County.

State Senator Eric J. Tarr represents the Fourth Senatorial District which includes Mason County.