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Nelson Co. Pipeline Opponents Worry FERC Misquoted Them

Posted: Updated: Jun 10, 2015 10:02 PM
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

People in Nelson County say the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) got vital information wrong from scoping meetings for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Nearly 80 people spoke at a scoping meeting in Nelson Co. about three months ago. Now, some speakers say their words were misrepresented in transcripts that are part of FERC's official record on the pipeline.

“'Hi, my name is Michelle Madioli.' Now of course I would never say that, nor anything like that, because that's not my name,” said Joanna Salidis with Friends of Nelson.

Salidis says that was just the start.

Joyce Burton voiced opposition to Dominion Resource's proposed natural gas pipeline on behalf of her 90-person community, Shannon Farm Community, at a FERC scoping meeting.

“One of the things that I had said, was that the pipeline would disrupt our organic gardens where some members, including seniors on reduced income, grow a sizable portion of their food,” she said.

Burtons says FERC's transcripts instead had, “Would destruct our organic environments for some members, including seniors on reduced income for sizable portion of their food.”

Many of the 78 people who spoke at the March 18th meeting say their words were garbled in the official transcripts.

“It was really distressing to find out afterwards that my comments had been transcribed so badly as to lose a lot of their meaning and to be trivialized,” Burton said.

This could be troublesome as these transcripts are what FERC will consult as it does an environmental evaluation, and decides whether or not to approve the natural gas pipeline.

“If you were trying to make environmental impact decisions based on these comments, you would look at that and you would say, ‘this makes no sense,'” Burton said.

“They really don't respect, nor are they interested, in hearing from the public about our concerns,” Salidis said.

A spokesperson from FERC says they're aware of the errors in the transcript and are looking into the matter. Right now, they're continuing to review all feedback, both what was transcribed and the written comments some speakers submitted as well.

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