Dominion is sending surveyors into the field, planning to build a 550-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from West Virginia to customers in Virginia and North Carolina. The company hopes to complete construction by 2018, but some landowners who live along the route are showing remarkable ingenuity in their fight to prevent the project.
Fred and Bonnie Powell own a farm in Augusta County that’s been in the family for generations.
“I literally was born in the house right over – you can see the roof right across there. That’s our home place.”
For them, this is a little slice of heaven.
“I mean Just look at the mountains and the pasture and the cattle.”
So when the couple got a letter from Dominion explaining plans to cut a swath 100-feet wide across the property to bury a gas pipeline, they were none too pleased.
“It’s just insane to put that here.
“The whole Shenandoah Valley – I don’t care whether it’s here or north or south, anyplace in the valley is not the place to bring the pipeline through.”
Scenery aside, Bonnie can’t see how a pipeline will be easily buried in the mountains nearby.
“They’re going to have to blast. It’s gonna be rock - it’s limestone. I mean there are outcroppings all over.”
And she was alarmed to see the pipeline coming within half a mile of three schools, so the couple joined neighbors in lining their property with NO PIPELINE signs.
“There were fourteen, and they were all stolen at the same time.”
Undeterred, they moved a 15-hundred pound bale of hay to the roadside and painted the sign on it.
“And then we had extra spray paint leftover, and we were looking at the old double wide that needed to be torn down and we got the idea – well let’s just put NO PIPELINE on that too, so that’s what we did, and you can see it from the road, driving by.”
Governor McAuliffe, who received $75,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion, has called the pipeline a game-changer for Virginia. The company says construction will mean thousands of jobs, while helping to ensure low energy prices for customers. The Powells are doubtful and determined to stop the project - signing petitions, writing to the Federal Energy Commission, and planning to join neighbors for a rally Saturday in Waynesboro.