By Charlotte Lane, chair, Public Service Commission of West Virginia
Good luck this hunting season! Thousands of men, women, and children look forward to the fall hunting season, which starts the last Saturday in September. Most eagerly await deer season, which kicks off near Thanksgiving.
While you’re out there communing with nature, you could also do all your non-hunting buddies, and me, a great favor. I’m appealing for your help this year to perform a friendly civic duty. I want you to troubleshoot for the state and your utilities.
If you see a downed power line, a leaking oil pipe, or smell the distinct odor of escaping natural gas, please don’t just ignore the situation. If you see a water line spewing water on the surface, get a location and let us know.
Hunters will fan out there across thousands of rural miles, perhaps some of which have not been trampled by humans for years, and you could act as our warning eyes and ears. It would be a great public service.
Our sister agency, the Department of Environmental Protection, is always trying to locate uncapped oil and gas well drillings across the state and monitor them for spills. If you come in contact with uncapped wells, look for a pipeline marker or a sign, write down a location or GPS coordinates, or snap a picture, and then let somebody know.
If you see a tree about to fall on a power line, how about notifying one of the power companies to let them know of the threat? It could save you or a neighbor from a power outage during a storm.
If you recognize a problem but don’t know who to call, then call the PSC at 1-800-642-8544. You can also call the DEP spill line at 1-800-642-3074. We work together to try to resolve those issues.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors in the woods this fall. It is great to connect with nature. And hunters are good stewards of our natural resources.
We’d like to deputize you to help us keep everyone a little safer. I know you’ll recognize a problem if you spot one, so please take the next step and make that phone call. Help us to help all of you. It’s the right thing to do.