MVP pellets rain down on organic farm

(Summers County) A pelleted substance rained down on a farmer and his children while harvesting ginseng on their property near Grassy Meadows.

Neal Laferriere owns Blackberry Botanicals, an organic certified farm that sits adjacent to the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. He explains saying,”A helicopter flew over and about ten seconds after it flew over pellets started to come out and drop through, pelting myself, my children.”

According to an EPA spill report the pellets are Earth Guard a product to prevent erosion and provide soil stabilization. The pellets were intended for the path of the pipeline but fell over a quarter of a mile away from the pipeline path. The EPA spill report says the pellets were dumped two more times on the farm. Neal Laferriere says the pellets have covered nearly three fourths of his farmland.

Laferriere explains the damage is permanent saying, “I asked specifically of the environmental specialist, ‘Is there anything we can do to clean this up?’ And he said specifically, ‘No, there is absolutely nothing you can do to clean this up.'”

The Laferrieres say substances in the pellets aren’t organic and could void their farm’s organic certification diminishing their livelihood. Beth Laferriere explains saying, “Non-organic black cohosh is five dollars per pound. Organic is thirty-eight [dollars per pound].”

Neal Laferriere expresses his frustration saying, “It just feels like we’ve been steamrolled, abused. Like they just don’t care.”

In response Mountain Valley Pipeline released the following statement:
“We are aware of this unfortunate incident and have initiated additional precautionary measures to prevent these types of issues from happening in the future. We will work directly with the landowner to address his issues and concerns related to this incident.”

Haley Brown

Haley Brown

Multimedia Journalist

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