Letter to FERC Raises Concerns Over Alternate Route for Proposed Pipeline
People who live and work in the path of an alternative route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are demanding answers from Dominion and federal regulators.
NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - People who live and work in the path of an alternative route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are demanding answers from Dominion and federal regulators about the project's potential impacts.
A hundred people have signed a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), expressing concerns about the Spruce Creek Variation route through the Shenandoah Valley.
"The map shows [the pipeline] coming right down the valley, through my hayfield and right across the strawberries," said Blue Heron Farm co-owner Keith Dix.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be a 3.5 foot-wide, high-pressure, natural gas pipeline that would travel from West Virginia, through the commonwealth, ending in Robesson County, North Carolina. The pipeline would cut also through the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
FERC notified property owners in the Shenandoah Valley in late August that it was considering their area as an alternative path for the energy company’s project.
Members of Citizens of the South Rockfish Valley worry the pipeline will destroy the local environment and economy.
“We just want to keep fighting it. We don't think FERC is doing the job it should be doing,” Dix said.
“It's clear Dominion is not putting the effort into it, and honestly I'm concerned FERC is not doing their job as regulators regulating that,” said Colin Winter with Citizens of the South Rockfish Valley.
Winter helped to write the letter to FERC, which raises environmental concerns such as wildfires and flooding.
“We're certainly looking out for our interests in this valley. We're also looking out for Dominion's interests, because if they put a pipeline in a place that's unstable and unsuitable for a pipeline and a disaster happens and people die, they're going to be held both criminally and civilly responsible for that,” Winter said.
“We spent several months thoroughly evaluating the Spruce Creek variation, and for a number of different reasons - for environmental reasons and other sensitive resources - we decided not to adopt that variation,” Aaron Ruby, spokesperson for Dominion.
Ruby says they are sympathetic to people’s concerns: “We listen very carefully and to the greatest extent we can we work with them to try to minimize the impact on their property,” he said.
Federal regulators are currently reviewing the environmental impacts of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
A decision whether to approve the project is expected by the end of next September.
Map of Spruce Creek Variation route (right-click and select "Open image in a new tab/window" to see larger image):