A Setback for Pipeline Opponents

Feb 6, 2017

A judge in Nelson County has ruled against 39 residents who refused to let surveyors on their land to prepare for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but as Sandy Hausman reports, opponents say they’ll keep fighting the project.

After a setback in court, opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they'll raise objections to a federal environmental impact statement and the use of eminent domain.
Credit Sandy Hausman

Joyce Burton, with Friends of Nelson, wasn’t sure if her group might appeal yesterday’s ruling.  She noted a similar case in Augusta County is headed for Virginia’s Supreme Court and claimed the fight had just begun:

"The process is really only beginning. Dominion filed its first lawsuits against landowners more than two years ago. Their project is more than a year behind.  Time is really on our side, and we're going to keep fighting it tooth and nail, because this is wrong on so many levels."

For example, Burton says opponents could slow or stop the project by objecting to a federal government’s report claiming the pipeline will have minimal environmental impact.

“You know we’ve been doing studies of the soil here in Nelson County and the steep slopes, and there are all sorts of ways that we believe the impacts of this pipeline are going to be very severe.  If they have ignored the clear evidence we’re presenting to them in our comments, then we will take that to the courts if we have to.” 

And should that prove unsuccessful, Burton says there’s another legal issue that could be raised in court.

“It’s wrong that people should have their land taken by eminent domain for a for-profit corporation.  This is not to build a school or a road.  This is to build a gas pipeline so that Dominion can make more money.”  

Dominion and its pipeline partners say the project will create jobs, and cheap gas will benefit consumers while stimulating the economy.