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Property Owner Defends Pipeline, Says He's in 'Silent Majority'

Posted: Updated: Nov 19, 2016 04:20 PM
Carlton Ballowe Carlton Ballowe
Property rights revival Property rights revival
Joanna Salidis Joanna Salidis
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A property owner whose land was in the path of Dominion's proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is defending the natural gas project. He believes a majority of people support the pipeline through central Virginia, but their voices are drowned out by opposition.

Carlton Ballowe is a former president of the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce. He is the president of the 'Real Nelson' group that's all about protecting property rights. Now, he's taking a stand in support of the pipeline.

“I think even in Nelson County there is a silent majority,” he said.

His group is dedicated to defending individual property rights. “Without individual property rights, there is no liberty, but we also believe that without eminent domain, there is no civilization,” Ballowe said.

Ballowe is backing Dominion's plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, even though one proposed route ran right through his land. He says federal regulators, not landowners, should decide whether the pipeline benefits the public good.

“I have to assume that the government and all of its alphabet soup of regulatory agencies will take care of that,” Ballowe said.

Ballowe claims the argument pipeline opponents are making about property rights is disingenuous.  

About 100 anti-pipeline people testified against eminent domain during a property rights Sunday revival in Nelson County.

“If Dominion wants to put their pipeline on your property, the way things stand, what we're fighting against is that they can take it," Joanna Salidis, president of Friends of Nelson said. "We are fighting against taking our property for profit.”

Salidis says pipeline opponents prefer to take an active approach in determining the project's future. “It's about the people deciding for ourselves that we'll take care of our neighbors, our communities."

Ballowe believes the pipeline will supply energy needs to benefit everyone. “We keep our powder dry for when individual property rights are genuinely threatened, and we don't believe that's the case here.".

A poll released last month by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce found 55 percent support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline statewide, while 29 percent opposed it.

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