Dominion Resources Inc. is in the preliminary stages of planning to build a 2-4 billion dollar (conflicting numbers on this out there) natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, into and through 5 counties in Virginia, and down into southern North Carolina. They call it Dominion Southeast Reliability Project which is apparently fancy talk for gonna wreck your land whether you like it or not. Much of the territory being threatened lies in rural areas, where folks may feel less capacity to push back. But they are not alone, and we have gotten word that they are more angry than scared. Dominion Resources is a sister company to Dominion Power, who holds a monopoly on electricity in Virginia, and has headquarters located in Richmond. There is plenty of opportunity to push back against this plan, in solidarity with folks in the counties and in defense of the earth.
Highland County is one of the least populated counties in the state, and the Board of Supervisors there was presented with initial information in late May. The local paper there, the Recorder reports, “The board also received a map, plus a draft letter to property owners who could be affected, explaining the surveying that would take place on their land.
It explains to a landowner, “Typically, the first step in a new project is to conduct surveys and environmental studies along a potential route corridor. Your property has been identified as being in this corridor and that is why we are notifying you so that we can begin keeping you informed throughout this process and because surveys will be conducted on your property. Conducting these surveys and environmental studies is required as part of the permitting process for a project of this nature. The Commonwealth of Virginia encourages new projects such as the Southeast Reliability project to conduct these studies as a way to minimize environmental and land use impacts. Dominion plans to begin the surveys and studies on or about July 1, 2015.”
Further, it tells a landowner, “Please be aware that our surveying the route does not mean you are agreeing to access for construction of the pipeline. For that purpose, we will seek a separate easement agreement from all affected property owners prior to construction once a final route is selected at the end of this process. During the initial phase and any subsequent phases of the Southeast Reliability pipeline project, Dominion and its representatives will remain in contact with you through other mailings, phone and in-person information sessions to keep you informed and to answer any questions you may have.”
It directs landowners to sign the form and return it to Dominion.
It also explains Doyle Land Services Inc. would assist with the project…. County supervisors informed the planning commission of the project last night (Thursday). “The said holy cow, too,” Wagner said. “There might be nothing we can do. It’s going to sock us.””
Sorry about the long quote, but the text of the letter sent to landowners seems important to get verbatim.
The folks of rural Virginia are the ones who will have this dangerous and destructive pipeline in their backyards, and these communities are not even set to benefit from access to resources. Dominion told a Prince Edward official that the county could purchase their own T to tap into the line in the future if they wanted.
The people of Nelson County Virginia are in the preliminary stages of pushing back against the aggressive, destructive plan. In one area, property owners are organizing to follow and film the surveyors who are being sent onto their properties. There are many determined to not let the pipeline onto their land. Others are also gathering signatures and creating petitions. Apparently Nelson County officials who requested to meet with Dominion have not yet been given the chance.
One resident, Ammon Sammon, says “The pipeline will include a 400ft corridor wiping out everything around it, including my house, and will not be giving anyone any compensation:.
Environmentally, there is a lot at risk. Aside from the clearly destructive expansion of infrastructure serving non-renewable energy sources, the pipeline would run through the Alleghany Highlands, putting the entire area at risk. And anything which produces a greater demand for practices such as fracking is an enemy of the people and the planet.
Local Sierra Clubs have begun to come out against the pipeline plan, including the Shenandoah Group. You can read their letter to the editor which details some of the natural areas at risk, in the Staunton paper the News Leader here.
Keep your ears to the ground, and make contact with folks you might know living in Highland, Augusta, Nelson, Prince Edward, Cumberland or Buckingham counties. Make sure folks are aware of what is going on, even those not directly affected may have neighbors who are. They tentatively plan to start construction in 2017 and be done in 2018.
If anyone has news of any resistance or organizing against this pipeline and you would like us to share the news, please be in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org
No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth!