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Possibility of Gas Pipeline through VA Raises Concerns - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Possibility of Gas Pipeline through VA Raises Concerns

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There are plans being floated for a new natural gas pipeline across part of Virginia, including a section that could stretch up, over, and through the George Washington National Forest. Some environmental groups are already expressing their concerns.

The project, proposed by Dominion, would extend pipeline hundreds of miles from West Virginia through Virginia, and down to North Carolina. Nothing is official yet, but some people already don't like the idea of the environmental impacts the project could have.

The plan would draw gas from the Marcellus shale formation in West Virginia. Dominion representative Jim Norville says that formation has already shown success in other areas, and feels Virginia could benefit as well.

"It's bringing businesses and jobs into areas of the country that have access to natural gas. It has kept natural gas at historically low prices. It has half the carbon output of coal,” Norville said.

But some feel the costs are just too high. Natural gas is often obtained by a process known as fracking, which can have a high cost for the environmental and communities.

"It causes pollution of the air, the streams, and the groundwater, and it's really severely damaged the lives of many of the people who live in that part of the state,” said John Cruickshank, chair of the Piedmont Sierra Club.

Cruickshank says it would also cause damage to the forest it would need to cross.

"Bringing in all that machinery and clearing a swath of land for the pipeline is going to disrupt the wildlife, certainly the whole ecosystem will be disrupted,” he said.

But Dominion says it has worked with the national forest before, and doesn't foresee a major impact. He says Dominion plans to have surveyors talking to property owners along the proposed route as early as next month. If their designs are approved, he says the company would want to move forward with construction that would wrap up in 2018.

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