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Wintergreen Resort Joins Fight Against Proposed Pipeline Route

Posted: Updated: Jun 08, 2015 04:07 PM
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Nelson County's largest employer is joining the opposition to Dominion Resource's proposed path for a natural gas pipeline.

Wintergreen Resort is taking advantage of the long holiday weekend, when many out-of-town property owners and visitors come to the mountaintop, to rally opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

More than 550 people packed into the resort's Skyline Pavilion Monday morning to learn about the potential impacts of the project on Wintergreen. Dominion has focused its plans on an alternate route across the mountain, and through the resort's main entrance.

“This is the wrong path, and we're joining with the citizens of the area to support them and work collaboratively with them,” said Wintergreen Resort General Manager Hank Theiss.

The resort is joining with groups like the All Pain, No Gain (APNG) campaign to urge Dominion to put its pipeline on existing rights-of-way.

“We're trying to get our elected officials to understand that and to put pressure on Dominion to do exactly that- to do what is responsible,” said APNG Co-chair Charlotte Rea.

Pipeline opponents even set up a display on the road leading into the resort so residents and guests can see just how big a 42-inch wide pipeline would be.

“It's equivalent of an 8-lane highway that will be denuded of trees with a lot of activity in construction,” said resident Jon Ansel.

Ansel is leading a new group called Friends of Wintergreen. “Wintergreen is involved in it, because Dominion put Wintergreen in the middle of it,” he said.

Sue Carlson is helping collect signatures from property-owners and visitors on a petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“It's the economic driver at the moment for Nelson County and for our community. We have to support it. We have to speak up,” Carlson said.

Theiss worries the pipeline path threatens investment from the ski destination's new owners. “Wintergreen is a remarkable place and can have a bright, bright future, and we don't want something to stand in the way of that,” the general manager said.

Dominion spokesman Frank Mack issued the following response to Wintergreen Resort's concerns:

"The concerns of Wintergreen regarding the short-term impact of any construction are important to the ACP project team. One recent route change as a result of listening is that we are not planning to cross under the Wintergreen entrance road. We will go farther south and bore safely under Beech Grove Road (State Route 664). While we may use flag men at times, we do not expect road closures or activities that would impede access to Wintergreen for its members, guests or emergency vehicles.

"We also will continue to look for additional opportunities to co-locate the pipeline along existing rights of way, where allowed. We will propose a final route with our application for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this summer.”

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