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Augusta and Nelson Citizen Groups Against Pipeline Join Forces

Posted: Updated: Mar 17, 2015 01:26 PM
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Groups in Nelson and Augusta Counties are now working together to document the potential impact of Dominion Resources' proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Friends of Nelson and the Augusta County Alliance have hired Charlottesville based Key-Log Economics, LLC, to perform a study on the natural gas pipeline's economic impact.

The groups say the pipeline will hurt the area's tourism-based businesses.

“The construction of a 42-inch [wide] pipeline that slices across the Blue Ridge Mountains, both during construction and operation, are going to put a scar across the landscape that businesses won't ever be able to recoup the cost of,” said Ernie Reed with Friends of Nelson.

The groups say the pipeline will hurt the water quality of the region, which many restaurants, breweries and distilleries rely on.

Dominion says the pipeline will mean large increases in property tax revenues for both counties.


Friends of Nelson and Augusta County Alliance News Release:

Friends of Nelson and the Augusta County Alliance, two citizen groups that have led the opposition to Dominion's proposed 42-inch, high pressure nature gas pipeline, have joined forces in order to produce an economic report countering the purported economic benefits of Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The Charlottesville-based firm of Key-Log Economics, LLC, will conduct a thorough economic study that will show the true costs and impacts to Nelson and Augusta communities along the proposed path of the pipeline. Economies in both counties are based heavily on agriculture and tourism and rely on their quality water resources and scenic beauty. Property owners stand to have their properties devalued and their quality of life compromised. The business community will also suffer the consequences.

“The greatest costs, burdens, and risks of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be placed directly on the shoulders of Nelson and Augusta Counties,” said Ernie Reed, of Friends of Nelson. “Despite two Dominion reports that deal with only the inflated income side of the ledger claiming otherwise, no significant benefits to either of our adjoining counties have been documented.”

“Where will our household and commercial sectors be if our incredible, but vulnerable, water resources are negatively impacted by this project?” Nancy Sorrells, co-chair of the Augusta County Alliance, asked. “Augusta County is the headwaters of the James and Shenandoah Rivers. Millions of people downstream depend upon us for drinking water. The potential to permanently damage our water resources is very real. It is simply a gamble not worth taking.”

Joanna Salidis, Friends of Nelson President, echoed those sentiments. “Dominion's pipeline is nothing more than the large scale transfer of wealth from counties like ours on the route to management and shareholders' pockets. Our pipeline impact study will provide facts that Dominion and Governor McAuliffe fail to acknowledge.”

The study will look at issues surrounding local economics, job losses, loss of property values as well as other economic and socio-economic analysis. For instance, the study will examine the cost to the public coffers of devalued and undevelopable land resulting from the pipeline easements. Other factors to be examined include losses to businesses during construction, costs to agricultural production, impacts to the environment, increased emergency services costs, road repair costs, outdoor recreation impacts, and community health issues.

Preliminary results of the two-county study will be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and to county officials in May and the final report will be released later this spring. “We are grateful that Augusta County has joined us in this effort,” Reed continued. “Our partnership strengthens our resolve in opposition to this ill-conceived desecration of our most treasured community values.”

For more information or to contribute to the cost of this effort, contact Ernie Reed at Friends of Nelson (lec@wildvirginia.org) or Nancy Sorrells for Augusta County Alliance (info@augustacountyalliance.org).

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