On the morning of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, Dominion Resources announced an alternative route for its proposed $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The United States Forest Service earlier had nixed its proposed route that would have cut its swath across Cheat Mountain and into the Durbin area.
That day I became increasingly distressed as I pored over maps of the new proposed route. For one thing, the route would cut within 200 yards of the home my family has lived in near Frost for the past 40 years, and would significantly change our nearby landscape. Not that I’m just a “not in my own backyard” type person. Other fellow neighbors and citizens would also be impacted. For instance, the proposed route cuts right through the heart of the Linwood community. A link to a zoom-in-capable map is at http://eight- rivers.org/Pipeline/Alterna tive-Route_ACP.html
Then on Tuesday, February 16, Key-log Economics released an economic impact study for Nelson, Buckingham, Highland and Augusta counties in Virginia that the ACP had been slated to pass through. The new proposed route now includes Bath County, which this study does not address. This economic study ranges one-time costs from $72.7 to $141.2 million. These one-time costs comprise lost property value and the value of ecosystem services lost during construction. Annual costs following the construction period include lower ecosystem service productivity in the ACP’s right-of-way, lower property tax revenue due to the initial losses in property value, and dampened economic development. These total between $96.0 and $109.1 million per year, and would persist forever. http://keylogeconom ics.com/wp1/projectsand publications/acpcosts/#com ment-39
An economic analogy might be drawn for Pocahontas County. After all, the proposed ACP pipeline would simply pass through our scenic landscape without any gas to tap. Are we in Pocahontas to be a national energy sacrifice zone for the benefit of investors looking to reap their profit? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) needs to honestly and thoroughly study and analyze the economic and living quality impacts of all proposed pipeline “pass through” counties in West Virginia and Virginia.
Property owners along the path of the proposed route have been getting letters from Dominion Resources that they will be contacted soon to set up surveying. I will point out that Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons ruled this past August that companies behind the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline cannot survey landowners’ property without their permission. I recommend that any property owner approached to sign a contract with Dominion Resources first seek knowledgeable legal advice.
Eight Rivers Council with Allegheny-Bluegrass Alliance will hold an information and discussion community meeting at Linwood Library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2.
Allen Johnson, President
Eight Rivers Council