Neal Laferriere, who owns organically certified Blackberry Botanicals, says that recently while he and his children were harvesting ginseng a “helicopter flew over and about ten seconds after it flew over pellets started to come out and drop through, pelting myself, my children.”1
The damage done to his farm is permanent. And, it could potentially void his organic farm certification. Laferriere says, “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.’”2
“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.”3
Laferriere and his wife are frustrated and feel as if they’ve been abused, as it may indeed be the end of livelihood. They have every right to be upset. Furious even.
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For their part, Mountain Valley Pipeline said, “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.”
We should hope that means hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. But we doubt it.