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FERC Holds Atlantic Coast Pipeline Hearing in Nelson County

Posted: Updated: Feb 22, 2017 10:52 PM
Virginians showed up to Nelson County High School to voice their comments about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Virginians showed up to Nelson County High School to voice their comments about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Natasha Copon (right), opposes pipeline Natasha Copon (right), opposes pipeline
Sharon Ponton, opposes pipeline Sharon Ponton, opposes pipeline
Ted Dinch, supports pipeline Ted Dinch, supports pipeline
Marian Pearce, supports pipeline Marian Pearce, supports pipeline
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Over 100 central Virginians turned out to Nelson County High School Wednesday night to have their voice heard on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

This was one of the last public hearings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission releases its final report and recommendation on the pipeline.

Federal regulators took people one by one into a private room to record their comments, but that didn't stop people waiting outside in the long line from speaking their minds.

Many, like Sharon Ponton, were usuals on central Virginia’s pipeline protest scene.“I think it is very wrong for Dominion or any other energy company to be forcing themselves on unwanting [sic], unwilling landowners,” she said.

The more visible majority belonged to people opposing the pipeline, arguing it's unnecessary or dangerous.

“I think that we should be investing in future technologies, not old outdated technologies that don't serve our purpose,” said Natasha Copson, who opposes the pipeline.

“You know, there's a raft of safety issues,” said Marian Pearce, who opposes the pipeline.

While the people who opposed the pipeline were the ones with the buttons and signs, there were also a number of pipeline supporters waiting in line.

They argued environmental concerns are overblown.

“'It’ll be over in two years, they'll dig the hole, they'll place the pipe in there and it's over,” said Stuart Harvey, who supports the pipeline.

Supporters also say that the pipeline will create jobs for people like Ted Dinch, who is a welder for the Pipeliners Union Local 798.

“I’m definitely not a corporate type, I’m a blue collar guy,” said Dinch. “My message would be that pipeline people are just normal blue collar workers trying to make a living and take care of their families. We respect the land and we are always prideful of the way we leave it.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold the same public hearing set-up Thursday at 5 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Staunton Conference Center in Augusta County.

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