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Barge facility gets nod; Burlington resident remains opposed

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A long-running fight over a proposed barge fleeting facility in Huntington could be over and at least one resident on the other side of the Ohio River isn’t happy.

According to the Herald-Dispatch, the Army Corps of Engineers notified Mayor Kim Wolfe July 18 that it approved a permit for the facility.

Huntington Marine Services has been trying since the 1990s to get permission to build the facility. It would be located along the Ohio River in Huntington’s Westmoreland neighborhood.

Residents have opposed the project from the start, claiming it would create coal dust, noise pollution and riverbank erosion. Huntington Marine Services says the facility will be pollution-free and quiet, and could create up to 212 jobs.

One of the most outspoken citizens in Lawrence County is Don Saunders of Burlington, who has opposed the project for years.

“I don’t like it at all, never did,” Saunders told The Tribune. “We don’t need barges at that particular location. They could be someplace else. I am not against economic development but this is really a residential area. I don’t think they need them there. The whole (Huntington) city council and Westmoreland have always objected to it. It has been going on for 18 years. It is going to be devaluation of property, soil erosion and noise.”

City Councilwoman Joyce Clark represents Westmoreland and is another of the project’s opponents. She says the Westmoreland Neighborhood Association will meet soon to discuss its next steps.