I'm writing in response to a letter that appeared in the Times Leader on August 6th criticizing Jennifer Garrison for moderating a forum discussion on the Statoil well pad fire in Monroe County on June 28th. I was a panelist on the forum, and I can attest that the forum was informative and productive and was non-political.
As both a former state representative and as an attorney representing landowners including many in Monroe County - Mrs. Garrison has developed expertise in the oil and gas industry. In the Ohio House, Mrs. Garrison also demonstrated her concern for Monroe County by working tirelessly to improve our schools.
By convening an oil and gas forum, Mrs. Garrison sought to facilitate a discussion of many of the important issues facing our region as a result of the oil and gas play. As the forum began to take shape, it became apparent that the Clarington fire presented many important issues affecting first responders, local officials, and citizens that warranted further discussion.
The event was advertised to the public in advance, and first responders from several local fire departments, as well as elected officials from both political parties attended the forum.
There is nothing wrong with taking the initiative to draw on one's own expertise and concern for a region to highlight important issues impacting first responder and community safety. To the contrary, it's called leadership.
I commend Mrs. Garrison for demonstrating such leadership.
John V. Pyles