Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline Opponents Protest in Richmond

Posted: Updated: Apr 21, 2015 12:42 PM

People against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline want Governor Terry McAuliffe to rescind his support of the project, and they took their fight to Richmond Tuesday.

An anti-pipeline coalition rallied at the state capitol, delivering what members say are 5,000 petitions against the project. A 40-foot inflatable "pipeline" in front the governor's office helped illustrate their point.

The coalition represents several groups who are in opposition to the pipeline including Friends of Nelson, Friends of Buckingham, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environmental Action, Augusta County Alliance, and The Sierra Club.

The coalition says the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposed by Dominion Power and its partners is too dangerous and threatens the safety and livelihoods of communities along the route.

Governor McAuliffe has called it a "game changer" that would bring cheap natural gas and jobs to Virginia. The coalition is now pressing McAuliffe to take back his support.

Landowners along the proposed line spoke out at the rally. They argue the pipeline puts water quality at risk and might not be as environmentally-friendly as Dominion says.

"We feel so deeply violated by Dominion's desire to put a pipeline on our property,” said Joanna Salidas, the president of Friends of Nelson.

Dominion and the governor have said the pipeline will bring jobs to the commonwealth, boost the economy, and create cheaper and more reliable sources of energy.

"The primary purpose of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is we have to meet the urgent energy needs of Virginia and North Carolina,” said Frank Mack, the manager of Dominion Transmission Communications.

So far the demonstration does not appear to have changed Gov. McAuliffe's mind. Rachel Thomas from the governor's office issued a statement Tuesday saying, “Governor McAuliffe supports the Atlantic Coast pipeline which will bring significant economic development and job creation opportunities to the region, and will lower energy costs. The Governor also supports efforts to ensure that the project is done safely and takes into consideration local community needs and concerns.”

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