Last night Mountaingdad and I attended the county Board of Supervisors meeting in opposition to the proposed “natural” gas pipeline. We were heartened that the gallery was full to overflowing with residents of our county, the adjacent county, and the county that successfully blocked it. There were more than 100 people in attendance and 16 spoke, including Mountaingdad. Though this wasn’t a hearing on the topic, I feel the Board was given some good information, not just the sales propaganda from the Mountain Valley Pipeline people. We were also heartened to learn that we don’t have to try to start the resistance moving in our community, that there is already a group made up of folks from 4 counties and we just need to jump on the band wagon.
The statistics and data that we heard are frightening, regarding the dangers of even a smaller 30-32″ pipeline and they are talking about an experimental 42″ pipeline. The map showing the proposed route and the question and answer sheet that was provided from the presentation they made to the county representative several days ago, shows that they are not going to directly use the power line easement, but rather take land near it by eminent domain and depending on which side of the easement they choose, they could be on our land or very near our farm and perhaps will take our land for the road access as they come in to destroy a 125 foot wide swathe of forest and dig a 10′ deep trench through the rock and karst topography and along a fault line of our county. Needless to say we are alarmed. Construction blasting and digging or a pipeline accident with a pipeline of that size could wipe out from our home past the only major road through the county, virtually isolating some of the county residents. This in a large mostly rural county with only 4 small volunteer fire and rescue companies. The route crosses the New River and two major creeks feeding the New River numerous time, threatening over 250 historical sites including 2 of the 3 covered bridges. The estimated property impact is in the billions of dollars. This is for a pipeline to carry gas recovered through fracking (a groundwater destroyer) and they won’t guarantee that the gas won’t be shipped overseas instead of for domestic use. The estimated lifetime of this pipeline is only 20 years.
The two bridges and the two houses are all within the probably easement as are many other historical sites.
There have been over 360 incidents resulting in at least $40,000 damage to property per incident (the figure that is put on declaring it an incident) in the US alone including one that killed 8 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood in California just within the past few years from fracking or the transmission of the gas recovered by this process.
This pipeline won’t even be giving jobs to our region as the installation of such a pipeline requires specially trained workers that are brought in with their own temporary housing during the construction.
Our county has been striving to present itself as a recreation, vacation and wilderness area with over 45 miles of the New River for kayaking, canoeing, tubing and fishing; the wonderous Cascade Waterfalls, Mountain Lake and Lodge, and more than 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail including one of the trail towns. The forest destruction will definitely impact the desirability of this area as a vacation spot or wilderness retreat.
If you are one of my local readers, please join the cause against this pipeline and share this information with friends and neighbors. We need all of the support that we can get. More info is available at Preserve the NRV on Facebook.