Representatives from two Natural Gas Companies will answer citizens’ questions and hear their concerns about the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, Wednesday, November 5th in Blacksburg.
This comes as communities around Virginia await action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to decide if the review processes can move forward.
Like other communities in the path of three different natural gas pipelines that would crisscross Virginia, some Montgomery County Citizens are mobilizing to fight them.
“We’re entering the community of Preston Forest in Blacksburg Virginia, on a way to a homeowner’s meeting of the homeowners association. Pittsburg based, E-Q-T and Florida’s Next Era Energy, Inc. have partnered to build a Mountain Valley Pipeline, which will come across Giles county, through this once pristine wooded community, already scarred by high tension power lines and continue down across Mount Tabor into the Catawba Valley and Roanoke County.”
A video made by a Blacksburg production company, Lucid Media, captures the concerns of area residents.
“The gas coming through that line is coming from fracked wells, no doubt about it.”
“There were more than 80 explosions and fires in the year 2012 alone. In addition to all those fatalities, injuries and so forth, was a price tag of over a billion dollars in lost properties”
“Who made the pipeline explosion scenario? I’m the guy that made the pipeline map that blew up your houses...I encourage you guys to go on the website and look at that but what he missed was the firestorm. If that pipeline goes up on Smithfield, everybody up here is gonna be toast because it’s gonna start a firestorm and we will not be able to get out of the neighborhood.”
None of the three pipeline plans has yet been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but if they are the gas companies would be entitled to run the pipelines through private property under the right known as eminent domain.
“The Natural gas act heavily favors the private utilities as opposed to having a level playing field where in court both sides are on equal ground,” says Joe Waldo, an eminent domain attorney in Norfolk VA. He points out that the law allows the companies to gain access to private land under federal law, which he says is more favorable toward the industry than Virginia State law. It gives them the right to use the rules of eminent domain to access private land in the same way that governments can.
“But they’re money making ventures and that’s diff from a highway or a hospital or a park or so many other public uses.”
Spokesman for the gas companies, Natalie Cox says they respect the concerns of citizens and want to work with everyone involved to build the pipeline safely and responsibly, and that once it’s operational, they will monitor its safety in real time, 24 -7.
On October 31st, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the companies’ request to begin the pre-filing process– that’s the first step and includes an informal review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline plan. The next step is for the FERC to issue a notice of intent to prepare an environmental statement. It would include a period for public comment and scoping meetings along the proposed route and input from other agencies. No date has been announced as to when that would begin.
The public meeting on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline will be held 11/5, at 7 pm at the Blacksburg High School.