AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which was proposed to be a 600 mile, high pressure, natural gas transmission line that would run through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, was canceled on July 5, 2020.
About six months later, Dominion has filed a restoration plan for the damage that was done by pipeline construction.
While Nancy Sorrells, the Augusta County representative for the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, believes things are heading in the right direction, she said there is still a lot that is up in the air.
Sorrells wants clarification on how Dominion will fix things, like what will happen with people’s land that was taken for pipeline construction.
“There’s still 600 miles of land that is locked up that owners can’t do with the land what they want because it’s under all these restrictions from Dominion,” Sorrells said.
Dominion did pay landowners for the easements that they took, but Sorrells thinks people should have the opportunity to get that land back.
“Release those people from their easements, and even if they have to come up with some deal where the people pay pennies back on the dollar to get their rights back, they should have the opportunity to do that,” Sorrells said.
There were also trees that were taken down for about one-third of the pipeline. Sorrells said about half of those trees are still laying on the ground, and Dominion needs to figure out what they will do with those trees and how they’re going to compensate the landowners for that destruction.
There is also pipe that was already placed underground.
“Dominion has said that rather than rip up the ground twice, the pipe will just be in there and just be abandoned,” Sorrells said.
And there were historic stonewalls in eastern Augusta County that were displaced that Sorrells said needs to be addressed as well.
“We need to be vigilant, and make sure that as we go forward that all of the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed and that we get ourselves back to where we were before or even better,” Sorrells said.
Sorrells said people can expect the restoration process to take a few years because there are so many things that need to be addressed.
Owners of the Stuarts Draft Farm Market were excited to see a greenhouse now being built where the pipeline would have gone through.
“Provide local jobs and local revenue for our area that will stay here in our area,” Virginia Davis, owner, said.
The greenhouse construction still does have to abide by where the easements are on that land, but Davis said hearing the greenhouse construction is more comforting because she says it’s for a good cause that will benefit the community.
“It’s a complementary business for the area to have a greenhouse that’s family-owned,” she said.