To its credit, MUB bridging troubled waters on pipeline

The Morgantown Utility Board has always had its critics, for better or worse.
But by and large, our newspaper is rarely one of them. It’s not because this public utility can do no wrong. It can and it does. However, it does far more things right than it does wrong and makes a good faith effort to right its wrongs.
Its rates are considerably lower than practically every large or small municipality in the state. It’s responsive to complaints    ranging from meter reading and its  patches on roads to stormwater runoff and odors from its facilities.
Yet, last week MUB began shaking our confidence in it for good reason — it failed to communicate its plans to cut through a city park to lay a pipeline.
Even worse, the route it was proposing was through White Park’s old-growth forest along a heavily used trail.
While  MUB staged a series of public meetings in 2015 that outlined the scope of a new reservoir and this pipeline connecting it to MUB’s treatment plant, the segment through White Park never came up.
We have no reason to doubt that it was included in documentation presented to the public, to Morgantown City Council and others.
Yet, there is no mention in our newspaper’s archives about the White Park segment nor mention of questions or protests about this route. We are not perfect either, but it’s highly unlikely our newspaper would miss this one. Ditto for scores of park users, officials and environmentalists.
That’s tantamount to everyone driving through a red light, rather than just one distracted driver.
If not for the alarm sounded by some park users, no one, including the city’s parks director, City Council and the public, would have even been aware of recent plans to clear a swath of trees through White Park.
Of course, if trees began falling in this forest, it would have  made an unpleasant sound no one would have wanted to hear, including MUB.
But to its credit, MUB, within hours of this alarm, held the first of a series of upcoming public sessions to determine a different route than its original one. This week MUB announced it was abandoning that route altogether and took credit for its mistakes and vowed to make things right.
Our newspaper does not doubt MUB will work tirelessly to make this right. Ultimately, the solution won’t please everyone, but it will go far to atone for this mistake.
We decline to name any preferred route for now, but it’s encouraging to note MUB is exploring all its options.
This issue, like so many today, looked to be one where battle lines were drawn before we even talked to each other.
Yes, MUB took a wrong turn, but it just didn’t keep going.
Indeed, it hit the brakes once it realized its error and began asking the public for directions.

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