Letter: Pipeline could hurt critical habitat of whippoorwills


Here are some corrections to the May 17 commentary “Federal regulators take heat from pipeline opposition” and some excerpts from my comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 4.

I live at the foot of Ellison’s Ridge in the Hans Creek Valley near Greenville in Monroe County. I have been a lifelong resident of this area. My family are among the earliest settlers to this area. My family has a long history of being stewards of the earth.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline would impact an area on my farm that I have been managing for over 30 years that is critical habitat and nesting area for whippoorwills and American woodcocks. On a previous night I heard 13 separate whippoorwill calls. It is one of the only certified nesting areas for woodcocks in West Virginia per the state DNR and also one of the only nesting areas for whippoorwills in the state. (I never said there were 13 separate nests. There is at least one and probably one or two more.)

There are more whippoorwills in this little area than any other in this immediate area, if not in the entire state. If the pipeline is built along the route that is scheduled to cross my farm it would totally destroy this habitat for the whippoorwills and woodcocks on my property.

The impact to our water would most certainly be devastating.

One dairy farm in the Hans Creek Valley near where I live has organic certification. If the water from Hans Creek would be tainted in any way this designation that took many years to achieve would be lost and would certainly put this family farm out of business. (I never said it would destroy my cattle operation, although it would have very negative effects to the use of our land that my nephew is using to pasture his small herd.)

Maury Johnson


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