Energy policy: Friends of Nelson County oppose pipeline

Comments from KM: 
"There are at least three reported uranium deposits in Nelson County, located in both agricultural and residential areas according to the Virginia Uranium, Inc.’s maps." This statement appears as a 12/31/12 posting on Does pipeline excavation monitor for radionuclides? If found, how is their impact mitigated on air, groundwater and employees?
It is a concern for Pittsylvania County which is in the path of the Mountain Valley pipeline. Over 60,000 were once lease for uranium exploration. Concern for potential negative impact to water quality and quantity due to uranium exploration and mining were chronicled by the National Academy of Science. Plowing a path through Pittsylvania County without reviewing historic uranium leases, testing for potential unidentified deposits and an environmental impact study puts a majority of PC county residents, businesses and farms water supplies at risk to "pass gas" through with no local benefit.
Posted: Thursday, October 9, 2014 10:30 pm
By Charlotte ReaRichmond Times-Dispatch
In his Sept. 30 column, “In Virginia, let’s transport gas,” Robert Bradley says, “Virginia lies in the epicenter of the national debate over energy policy.” This is the only point on which we agree.
Virginia can have a positive impact on our nation’s energy future, but only if Virginia citizens join with others across the nation to demand that our country has a responsible energy policy based on clean, renewable energy now and into the future. This policy must not unfairly burden small communities and private landowners while allowing large corporations such as Dominion Resources and Duke Energy to recklessly plunder private property and be environmental marauders.


Bradley might think he’s an expert on Nelson County, but to my knowledge he has never set foot into our county or talked to any member of our county government, any of our business owners or our landowners. He summarily dismisses our county’s concerns about the impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on our economy, water supplies and the property rights of our landowners. He says the “benefits far outweigh the risks” but then never offers one benefit that the county will receive from this pipeline. Why might that be?
The ACP will bring more costs than benefits to the county. Dominion has told county officials they should expect less than $300,000 in annual tax revenue related to the pipeline — a measly $25 per resident. Meanwhile, the county will lose property tax revenue on the devalued property of impacted landowners, will have to bear the cost of enhanced emergency and hazard management services necessitated by the pipeline and will lose sales tax revenue from tourist-related business and specialized agribusiness harmed by the pipeline.
These businesses rely on the sustainability of Nelson’s rural heritage to sell their products.

A 75-foot, permanently clear-cut pipeline right of way through our mountain vistas, fertile fields and along our waterways is hardly a lure for tourists. It will threaten our water quality and the reputation of our high-quality locally grown and manufactured products dependent on it.
Bradley refers to the Chmura Analytics report that boasts of impressive job and revenue creation for the state.

This report was paid for by Dominion, which supplied all the data used in it. The jobs numbers provided in the report are misleading. The new jobs touted in the report will go predominantly to out-of-state tradesmen skilled in pipeline construction and will only last during the construction period that Bradley says will be just a few months. In reality, according to the report, there will be only 39 long-term jobs created in Virginia, not the 8,800 that Bradley heralds.
The report addresses only predicted benefits and provides no discussion on costs associated with the project. Where is the cost-benefit analysis one would expect to find in a balanced and creditable report on a project of this type? It appears that Dominion only cares about the benefits of this project, ignores its costs and thinks we should, too.
Bradley states that communities opposing the ACP are “ignoring the greater good.”

I believe residents of Nelson County can be counted among the many citizens across the U.S. who are demanding that our states and nation truly focus on what is in our greater good. Relying on fossil fuels and building our future economic growth around them is not in the greater good. Our nation should be investing in new technologies and infrastructure that harvest and distribute the renewable and thus sustainable energy sources that lie in our grasp.

Pursuing this strategy will ensure America’s energy independence, not miles of metal pipes transporting remnants of the dinosaur age — unless we, too, want to become dinosaurs.
No, Mr. Bradley, pipelines are not a dream come true.

They only keep us shackled to our past energy policies that continue to fail us.
Charlotte Rea is the president of Friends of Nelson, on whose behalf this column is written. Contact her at

Friends of Nelson County

Standing in Opposition to Dominion's Proposed Pipeline:

Pipeline Awareness Meeting, Oct 16, 2014 - Mill Creek, WV

PRESS RELEASE - Pipeline Awareness Meeting, Oct 16, 2014 - Mill Creek, WV

A Pipeline Awareness Meeting for Landowners and Residents of Mill Creek and Huttonsville, WV in southern Randolph County, WV, regarding the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline [ACP] through their communities, is scheduled for Thursday October 16, 2014 from 3-8PM.
The Open House is hosted by Tyrand Ministries of Mill Creek and sponsored by West Virginia Wilderness Lovers vs Proposed Pipeline [WVWL]. 
Included will be the Appalachian Mountain Advocates, a non-profit public interest law and policy organization working to protect the communities and natural resources of our region, the Clean Air Council’s Presentation for Durbin, West Virginia Residents: Air Quality and Health Impacts of New Pipelines In West Virginiathe video “Battle of Wetzel” the 2011 Journey on Earth documentary by the Natural Resources Defense Council on the permanent destruction from pipeline  development in WV, along with a display of pipeline construction photos from the Dept of EnergyNatural Gas AssociationWetzel County Action Group and Doddridge County Watershed Association. 
Lauren Ragland, founder of WVWL will present details on Eminent Domain and Public Use, as the State of Kentucky has decided that transmission pipelines do not affect the public use of Kentucky and are not allowing condemnation of private property for the Bluegrass Pipeline. Also on the agenda are details from the US Dept of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Class 1 safety regulations for low density population locations, the Risk Assessment required for High Consequence Areas and Environmentally Sensitive Areasand public safety information regarding pipeline explosion, fire phases, and block valve closure swiftness.
Joao Barroso, Mill Creek landowner will be speaking via Skype from China on his experiences with Dominion’s surveying firm the Doyleland Company.
Invitations to attend and participate have been extended to Dominion Transmission representatives, state, county and local elected officials, fire and rescue personnel, the Sierra Club, the Greenbrier River Watershed AssociationWV Highlands Conservancy and the Ohio Valley Environmental Council (OVEC).
Press interviews and proposed pipeline route tours are being scheduled throughout the afternoon. 
Directions: In Mill Creek on 219 turn on Back Rd/ Rt 39 at the United Methodist Church following the road for 1.5 miles turn at brick house on the right.
For more information contact Belinda Toms at Tyrand 304-335-2788 or or Lauren Ragland with WVWL at 304-339-2598 or Also visit the Facebook Cause “WV Wilderness Lovers vs Proposed Pipeline” and the Google+ blog at No Pipeline National Forest.

: Dept. Of Transportation 42” pipeline construction
PHOTOS #3,4 by Ed Wade Jr, Wetzel County Action Group
Cheat Mtn Hula Hoop by Amy Mitchem
Dominion Hat No Pipeline Photo of Lauren Ragland by Ed Wade Jr.
First Public Meeting - Durbin Frie Hall, August 7th, 2014, Moderator Bill McNeel and Lauren Ragland Courtesy of Geoff Hamill, Pocahontas Times
MAP: Courtesy of Dominon Transmission

No Meeting in Floyd but meeting in Roanoke: Pipeline

Please get the word out to your networks so that everyone knows 
the town hall meeting is canceled! Thanks so much.


"Due to the shifting circumstances here in Floyd County, Joe Waldo has decided to cancel his town hall meeting on eminent domain that was planned for next Tuesday, October 14, and move it to Montgomery or Roanoke County in the near future. We will update you as soon as we know details.
Though Floyd was spared, this fracked gas pipeline is still too close for comfort. And if you are still interested in letting EQT know how you feel about their corrupt policies, their contributions to political campaigns and their dangerous and irresponsible environmental practices that have led to a 4.5 million dollar lawsuit, please feel free to show up on Tuesday for the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Meeting at 3 PM."

Hanover board requests state study sludge


Hanover board requests state study sludge

Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm
One of the Hanover Board of Supervisors’ chief priorities on its legislative agenda for the 2015 General Assembly session is to ask the state Department of Environmental Quality to study the potential health risks and environmental impacts of applying industrial sludge on land in Hanover.

“We’re going to oppose any permit until we’re convinced that there are standards in place that specifically address industrial sludge,” said Sean Davis, chairman and Henry District supervisor, in a recent interview.

Standards the board would like to see put in place would be “based on the characteristics of residuals from different sources, including testing parameters, application methods, setbacks, record keeping, inspection protocols and enforcement authority — all developed specifically for industrial residuals,” according to the letter from the board addressed to Robert Dunn, the chairman of the State Water Control Board, and David Paylor, the director of the state’s DEQ.

Similarly, in the supervisors’ letter, they ask that DEQ not issue a permit until a study is performed to find whether spreading industrial sludge could have any environmental impacts or “health risk” on a locality.

The letter also points out that there’s a large difference between biosolids and industrial sludge and that needs to be taken in account when DEQ is regulating the industrial residuals usage.
“We want to ensure that we have the environmental protections in place and that public health is ensured,” Davis said.

The letter, also requests that DEQ deny Baltimore-based Synagro’s permit to apply “industrial residuals” on land in several localities including King William, New Kent and Goochland. At one point, the permit included Hanover because a local landowner agreed to be a part of it, but at the board’s Aug. 27 meeting, other supervisors said that Beaverdam District Supervisor Bucky Stanley was able to talk the property owner into taking his property out of the mix.

Read the full story in the Sept. 18 Herald-Progress. Call (804) 798-9031

Hopewell Valley residents pour out questions, concerns during meeting with pipeline company

PennEast Pipeline route

By Brendan McGrath | Times of Trenton The Times, Trenton  
on September 23, 2014 at 11:06 PM, updated September 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP – Area residents questioned PennEast pipeline officials on the environment, safety and eminent domain during a special township committee meeting Tuesday night.

For more than three hours, residents of Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington brought their questions and concerns to officials from PennEast Pipeline Co., which has proposed a 30-inch wide natural gas pipeline that would impact Hopewell Valley.

"I want to know why now we have decided to go forward with this project and how much of this will eventually be exported?" asked Felicity Toto of Pennington.

PennEast officials said that 84 percent of the gas would go to New Jersey customers.

"I was not aware that there was any shortage of natural gas in New Jersey," Toto said.
She also asked if the partner companies involved in the project have ever actually changed their routes based on resident concerns.

Alisa Harris, representing PennEast, said that the routes are never straight lines, because the companies accommodate local concerns.

Dante D'Alessandro, an engineer with UGI, one of the companies that has partnered to create PennEast, addressed safety concerns.

"During operations, there are many regulations we must follow on an ongoing basis for regulating a pipeline," he said.

Every seven years, the company will have to send a "pig" through the pipeline, he said. This device will examine every inch of the pipeline for any issues.

"We'll be able to go back 100 years from now and dig this pipe up and it'll look as good," as the day it goes in the ground.

The company is not going to just install the pipeline and let it decay, he said.

"Once we're in the community, we stay involved in the community," he said.

Jess Niederer, an organic farmer at Chickadee Creek Farm, said she came to the meeting out of solidarity for fellow farmers, but has learned that it seems that alternate routes could run through her land.

She said that if the pipeline will last 100 years, she is still concerned for the people who plan on having descendants in the area a century from now. She also asked PennEast who would uphold their safety promises if they go out of business.

"Who is going to protect us when you're gone?" Niederer said.

D'Alessandro said that the pipeline will probably maintain its form for 500 years and if the company goes out of business, the pipeline will be taken out of service.

After individuals repeatedly asked what would happen if everyone in the area refused to cooperate, one township resident, Judy Niederer, questioned how PennEast could force anyone to allow an easement on their land.

"I know that governments have the right of eminent domain, but how did private companies get the right of eminent domain?" she asked.

The process of filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allows PennEast to exercise this, Harris said.

"The benefit of going through the FERC process," Harris said. "Is that if you are successful, at the end you get a certificate and that certificate grants eminent domain rights."

Kim Robinson of Hopewell Township asked the committee to vote on an ordinance opposing the pipeline and read off a number of incidents of pipeline accidents in the U.S.

"I don’t want to hear about safety standards or safety improvements," Robinson said.

 Robinson said that she does not believe that safety is a priority of companies who create pipelines, given the number of incidents that she was able to cite.

Kate Millsaps, the conservation program coordinator for the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement afterwards that area residents should deny PennEast permission to survey their land.

“The statements made by PennEast representatives at the public meeting reinforces the need for landowners who do not want this project on their property to send in certified mail their survey permission denial,” Millsaps said.

Floyd County: No pipeline



Welcome to our First Newsletter!


Thanks so much for your patience with Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County as we compiled this newsletter for you. There’s been a lot to keep up with and we appreciate that you’ve kept yourself informed through our website, our Facebook page and each other in the meantime. We intend to have updates via email more frequently as we move forward.

The environment is on everyone’s mind right now as the largest ever “People’s Climate March” strode through NYC and the issue entered into the dialogue in a more urgent manner. The Mountain Valley pipeline is the dragon standing on OUR mountain right now, and it is its own beast—but it’s also part of climate change. It’s intended to carry fracked gas and it deserves to be seen as a part of this larger issue. As we come together and agree to work towards sustainable energy solutions and to be environmental advocates for the continued health and well-being of our community, we also commit to work together to protect this land that we all love.


Here are some important upcoming events and we’ll share more as we create more:
  • On September 28, Sustain Floyd will be presenting the film “Gasland 2 .” Preserve Floyd will be represented there to share information, answer questions and educate ourselves and each other. Doors will open at 6 PM for food and conversation. A donation of $5 is requested for the movie and an additional $5 for the dinner The film will start around 6:30 to 6:45 PM. 
  • Joe Waldo, a lawyer specializing in eminent domain, will visit Floyd on October 14. You can come see him—and ask questions – at the Floyd County High School at 7 PM.
  • Representatives from EQT will be attending the Floyd County Board of Supervisors meeting on October 28 at 7 PM. The meeting will be held at the Floyd County High School Auditorium.
  • Between now and October 28, citizens are encouraged to come to the Floyd Artisan’s Market on Fridays from 5-7 PM to create signs, sing songs and practice for the spectacle we’d like to present to EQT as they roll into town.
For those of you who want to help, we want you to know that there’s a lot you CAN do to help! We are just figuring out (as quickly as possible!) what, where, when and how. So keep asking and keep offering and keep sharing information. One thing EVERYONE can do is to talk to your neighbors. Pass this newsletter along. Keep updated on Facebook and share links, graphics and good connections. Join the Mountain-Valley Pipeline or the Virginians Against Pipelines discussion groups and engage. Social media is helping this movement tremendously. And if you know of landowners who might not have access to the internet, print out a copy of our landowner’s handbook or any other pertinent online information.

And write letters! We have a new “Letters to the Editor Toolkit” on our website that will help with that. Coming soon: A similar toolkit to assist with writing letters to politicians. The more the better. The more personal the better. And letters—actual letters—make much more of an impression than emails these days.

The very deepest of appreciation to each and every one of you who have attended community meetings, signed petitions, lent a hand at events and are committed to keeping yourself informed, active and participating. It is inspiring and encouraging to live in a community where so many people want to be involved.

Confluence: Water and the Pipeline


Many of you attended the showing of "To the Last Drop,” the locally-filmed Floyd County water documentary shown at the Eco-village on September 14. The ideas and interviews for that film started in the summer of 2013 long before there was any knowledge of Mountain Valley's proposed interstate pipeline.
So it was well timed that Partnership for Floyd's efforts culminated with the premier showing at just the time that our water--and that of all impacted and down-stream counties--was rising to the top of Preserve Floyd's concerns. We began to consider the impact of natural gas pipelines on the water across more than 800 miles of landscape threatened by the combined length of Mountain Valley and the Atlantic Coast Pipelines.
While our attention still resonates with voices, places, hopes and concerns from the movie, let me just say a bit more about water as we continue to be vigilant against any forces or agencies that put tomorrow's water at risk. Towards that end, I'll share a "this I believe" kind of statement I wrote recently in the process of trying to distill my thoughts:
"Ninety-five percent of Floyd County residents get their water from wells. From an injury to any one, other neighbors can suffer. So we are vigilant to protect our ground and surface waters today, even as we also look ahead. Adequate clean water in our county is a right, far into the future, that we are not willing to put at risk. And as we care for the water that falls on this plateau, we are also mindful of its quality as it passes through communities between here and the Gulf or the Atlantic. Ultimately, water is a shared necessity to life that we care for together across space and across time."
Our actions to insure that our waters are protected today become a legacy of reliable water for generations to come. Water, adequate and clean, is a right, not a commodity. We are committed to the water commons, and resist any threats to it, from whatever source they might come.
Consider carefully these ten water-commons principles. They guide us towards sustained water stewardship that we stand FOR. The current frenzy of unsustainable over-building of natural gas wells, holding ponds and pipeline construction right-of-ways are not consistent with these water principles, and represent values, purposes, methods and ends that we stand AGAINST. 
Please click here for wonderful info:

Pepperell coalition calls out head of utility for pipeline statement

Pepperell coalition calls out head of utility for pipeline statement

The Lowell Sun
Updated:   09/24/2014 10:58:42 PM EDT
By Anne O'Connor    PEPPERELL -- The Pepperell Homeowners Coalition threw down the gauntlet.    "You should not come to us until you're ready to put this pipeline in your own backyard," Vince Premus said to applause.    As the de facto head of the coalition, Premus was addressing, in absentia, Gordon Van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England.    The nonprofit ISO New England, according to its website, coordinates and directs electricity flow throughout the New England region.    ISO New England operates under the authorization of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is funded by a tariff on utility bills, Premus said.    According to documents obtained by the Conservation Law Foundation, Van Welie said the purpose of the Tennessee Gas Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, proposed by Kinder Morgan, is "to use public money to overbuild gas-pipeline infrastructure," Premus said.    According to Premus, that statement would seem to imply ISO's support for the pipeline project. "Do we really need this massive overbuild to secure our energy for the coming years?" he asked.    Premus asked for ISO New England to develop a plan that balances demand, environmental impact, health and human safety.    Opponents of the proposed pipeline that would carry natural gas across the state have been gathering information and meeting since the spring.

The Pepperell group met in May, June and September. Much has happened since that last meeting, Premus said.    Opponents walked across the state, crossing through municipalities along the proposed route. The walk culminated during a rally at the state house on July 30.    The pipeline opponents are getting more support from the state government.    NESCOE postponed a referendum vote on a tariff that would help pay for the pipeline. Gov. Deval Patrick withdrew his support for that tariff proposal.    The New England States Committee on Electricity, a nonprofit organization, comprises managers appointed by the six governors in New England. It is tasked with advancing policies to provide low-cost electricity and to maintain reliable service and environmental quality.    The organization is supposed to talk to FERC on behalf of New England, Premus said.    Maeve Bartlett, the Massachusetts secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, wrote a letter to FERC regarding Kinder Morgan. She submitted the letter on Sept. 16, the same day Kinder Morgan submitted its pre-FERC filing.    Natural-gas projects are required to pre-file with FERC before filing a proposal. FERC approval is required to build a pipeline like the one proposed by Kinder Morgan.    She asked for more information about where the gas would go and how the pipeline would affect the state's climate goals and greenhouse gasses.    The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources published a request for proposals to conduct a further needs and capacity study.     Grassroots action remains important.     Pepperell Selectman Stephen Themelis is a member of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments. Representatives from 11 communities meet regularly to discuss the pipeline.    "We need to keep the pressure on," he said.    State Rep. Jen Benson from Lunenburg addressed the meeting briefly. Massachusetts is number one in the country for solar power use, she said, but using a large amount of solar power will create a two-tier system where non-solar users pay for the infrastructure solar power generators sell back to the utilities.    The representative expressed concerns about the Kinder Morgan project.     The state does not need the amount of energy the pipeline could carry, she said.    The map used by Kinder Morgan is terrible, she said.     Pipeline opponents claim the route was laid out on outdated maps that were created in 1988.    A proposal by Spectra Energy is more viable, cheaper and provides storage for peak use times, Benson said. That proposal would use existing pipes and be a more fiscally responsible project.  Organizers provided letters for supporters to send and information on the FERC process.     A "Not in Anyone's Back Yard" yard sale will be held in Dunstable on Oct 18. Others will be held across the state.    On Nov. 11, a statewide, educational meeting will be held at the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg.     More information on contacting FERC and future events are available at Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.

Pipelines/Uranium Mining

Natural Gas SubStation:  Warning, NO SMOKING:  you can smell gas!

KM:  Citizens in Floyd and Franklin County are educating themselves regarding property right's and eminent domain regarding the Mountain View pipeline. 
 Nelson County has been doing the same with a pipeline (Atlantic) proposed for their area. 
 Many counties in VA (and other states) are finding themselves in the "line of fire" will be impacted by proposed pipelines. 
 Below are links to Floyd and Franklin County efforts to address pipeline issues. None of us are immune to the the pipeline steamroller. Know your rights (and lack there of)...
Unfortunately, the goal of the MV pipeline is to reach Pittsylvania...ironically, near Coles Hill. It appears there is bad juju in that neck of the woods.
Speaking of Coles Hill (Virginia Uranium), please read the article below.

Uranium company waits for tide shift

Posted: Monday, September 22, 2014 7:37 am
Uranium company waits for tide shift From staff reports The Gazette-Virginian
Since Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced last year he would veto any pro-uranium legislation, little has been said about the proposed uranium mining project in nearby Pittsylvania County.
However, it appears Virginia Energy Resources Inc., formerly Virginia Uranium Ltd., a resource company engaged in exploration and development of uranium deposits located in Chatham and uranium exploration in Quebec, is biding its time and continuing to preserve cash flow until the political will changes in support of uranium mining legislation. This information was contained in a report obtained last week from a recent management meeting on the update from the prospective of the Cole’s Hill Project owners and distributed to Virginia Coalition supporters by former Chairman John Cannon.

Virginia Coalition members have worked feverishly since 2007 to preserve the ban on uranium mining in Virginia.
Cannon believes the group has played a paramount role in alerting all of Virginia to the importance of the uranium mining ban.
Through the efforts of the coalition, Cannon said, interest in the issue has been energized throughout the entire state with numerous lobbying groups joining the effort and over 100 resolutions from political jurisdictions and businesses being submitted — all against the lifting of the ban.
“The New Sedar Report filed August 22, 2014, appears to be extremely good news and is a must read report,” Cannon said in an email to Virginia Coalition supporters who oppose the mining and milling of uranium in the state.
According to the Virginia Energy Resources management discussion and analysis for the second quarter ended June 30, the company’s head office is in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and its operations office continues to be located in Chatham.
Virginia Energy’s most important asset, the report states, is the 100 percent interest in the Coles Hill deposit in Chatham, the largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the USA and one of the largest in the world.
Virginia Energy’s ownership in Coles Hill is held through its subsidiary, Virginia Uranium, Inc., which controls the mineral rights, surface rights and leasehold development and operating rights on the Coles Hill property.

The net present value is $427 million, but a change in the price of uranium of $5 per pound could result in a potential change in the project value of $110 million, the report states.
However, it continues, “No forward looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual future results may vary materially.”
Virginia Energy capital stock as of Aug. 22 indicates 57,230,614 common shares were issued of which 5,321,376 common shares were held by “certain insiders.”
Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 8:01 pm

Proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline might spur jobs — but at what cost?

The Roanoke Times
FLOYD — A woman in the crowd asked whether a protest demonstration will greet the pipeline companies when they come to town late next month for a public meeting.
Mara Robbins, acting director of a group organizing opposition in Floyd County to the proposed interstate Mountain Valley Pipeline, fielded the question. She smiled.
“I would prefer to think of it as a spectacle,” Robbins said.

She spoke Sept. 14 to a crowd of about 200 people at the Floyd EcoVillage. The audience had gathered for the premier showing of “To the Last Drop,” an independent documentary about Floyd County’s unique surface water and groundwater resources — which the documentary suggests are vulnerable to disturbance and contamination.

The eclectic crowd reflected Floyd County’s longstanding diversity of lifestyles. Intentional communities and organic farms abut multi-generational farms.

On that Sunday evening, Jane Cundiff told the crowd that Floyd’s manifold communities can coalesce readily, and with the power of a sow bear protecting cubs, to guard the county’s rural lands from threats.

And for the Citizens Preserving Floyd County, the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport natural gas through the region at high pressure, is an ominous threat.

Yet there are others, including the pipeline companies, who suggest the pipeline could boost economic development for the states and counties through which it might pass.

As proposed as a joint venture by EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy, the buried Mountain Valley Pipeline would transport natural gas from West Virginia through several regional counties before terminating at another pipeline company’s compressor station in Pittsylvania County.

Natalie Cox is a spokeswoman for EQT and the joint venture with NextEra. The joint venture is called Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC.

Dominion has said the Atlantic Coast Pipeline “would help local gas utilities serve their customers with a new, reliable source of supply and permit businesses to build or expand their operations.”
McAuliffe has not weighed in on the 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline and a spokesman for the governor said that is unlikely to happen until the governor has more detail about the project.

Cox said it is too early to speculate about how the Mountain Valley Pipeline could serve communities or businesses that might want to tap into the pipeline.

“As part of the project development process, we will evaluate connection opportunities for communities and customers along the route,” she said.

Gary Larrowe, county administrator for Carroll County, said access to a natural gas transmission pipeline helped his county retain a key employer and has also yielded other benefits.

Mohawk Industries alerted county officials in 2009 that it needed to reduce its operating costs to stay in Carroll County. It was considering a move to Alabama.

‘Fiasco in the making’
Lydeana Martin, Floyd County’s community and economic development director, said the county’s focus differs from a locality like Carroll with ready access to interstate highways.

“We have nothing to suggest any potential positives to Floyd County at this point from the Mountain Valley Pipeline as the apparent route area is well north and east of the town [of Floyd],” Martin said. “Most businesses and the county’s business parks are clustered in and around town.”

She said the county is not focused on attracting heavy industry that requires access to rail or interstate highways.

“Our focus is on creative, inventive, conscientious ‘right-fit’ light industry, technology and agriculture,” she said.

Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery counties say the pipeline’s potential costs, all in the service of a fossil fuel, outweigh its prospective economic benefits.

They cite environmental impacts, safety concerns, threats to property values, potential effects on agriculture and groundwater and more.

Mark and Natasha Laity-Snyder live in Franklin County, roughly halfway between the towns of Ferrum and Henry. Mark Laity-Snyder said the couple received a phone call in July and a follow-up letter requesting access to their land to survey the property as a possible route for the pipeline.
“We told them no,” he said. “This pipeline looks like a fiasco in the making.”

Laity-Snyder noted that there have been explosions tied to natural gas transmission pipelines. He said that if the Mountain Valley Pipeline routes through his property, “It will be like having a bomb in our yard.”

He wondered how the pipeline would impact the value of his property.

“Would you purchase a house with a natural gas pipeline on the property?” Laity-Snyder said. “Depending on where the pipeline runs, and if it were to explode, our house would be gone.”
The couple has launched a website intended to be a resource for people opposed to the Mountain Valley Pipeline —

In September 2008, a Transco natural gas pipeline ruptured in Appomattox County, “resulting in five injuries, the evacuation of 23 families and the destruction of two homes,” according to an investigation by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The rupture and subsequent fire were linked to pipeline corrosion.

Other ruptures of transmission pipelines have occurred in Sissonville, West Virginia, and San Bruno, California. The latter killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that it oversees more than two million miles of hazardous liquid, gas transmission and gas distribution pipelines.

The PHMSA suggests that pipelines are “the safest, most environmentally friendly and most efficient and reliable mode of transportation for gas and hazardous liquids.” The agency acknowledges, however, that “pipeline accidents still happen, sometimes with tragic consequences.”

Preparing for the protest
For many residents of Floyd County, the risks far outweigh the potential benefits.

Seth Phelps and his family own and operate a farm and pottery business near Check. He said the family was asked for permission to access their land for pipeline-related surveying. The family refused and was told later that their land was no longer being considered for a route.

Like others in Floyd County, Phelps said he feels the pipeline would destroy something precious.
“We love our land and our little bit of freedom we’ve established here over the course of two generations and we’d like to protect that for our kids.”

Meanwhile, Robbins said people opposed to the pipeline are encouraged to come to the town of Floyd on Friday nights between now and the Oct. 28 public meeting to create placards for the anticipated protest that night.

The meeting of officials from Mountain Valley Pipeline and the board of supervisors is scheduled to occur at 7 p.m. at the Floyd County High School auditorium.

In a letter dated Sept. 8, Joseph Dawley, director of government affairs for EQT, wrote Floyd County Administrator Dan Campbell that EQT and NextEra take pride in being good partners in communities where they operate.

“We look forward to the start of a long and productive relationship with Floyd County,” Dawley wrote.