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Dear Editor:
The proposed Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is an unnecessary threat to the safety and water supply of all Pocahontas County residents. There are already pipelines in place for moving natural gas, but Dominion wants total control and the economic advantage of owning the pipeline.
I attended two meetings last week concerning the latest proposed route for the ACP within the 36 hour period between the County Commission meeting and the Linwood meeting, Dominion had changed the route to dip even further into the heart of Pocahontas County watershed. Landowners who had thought the proposed pipeline would not be clear cutting a 100-foot swath through their land have received letters from Dominion. This company is aggressively pursuing acquisition of land so this will be a done deal before Pocahontas County residents have time to consider all of the dangers of the pipeline’s latest route through our watershed, forests and farms.
Property owners are being approached on their land by Dominions‚“experts,” who are telling them that they will receive money for allowing Dominion to bury a pipe on their land. The rest of the story is this:
1) Much of our county land is karst, honeycombed with caves and openings that allow our clean water to flow freely and pool in aquifers. This is one of the least stable types of ground for burying a 42 inch wide pipe carrying gas under extreme pressure 1,500 psi (your home water tap runs at about 50 psi). If one of these pipes ruptures, the explosion can incinerate everything within 1,000 feet.
2) While installing pipe, crews will cross land with heavy equipment and possibly need to blast to the necessary depth.
3) Dominion asks for a 75-foot wide right-of-way, but clears a wider area during construction.
4) The homeowner may not be allowed on the right-of-way, or to cross it with equipment to farm or timber.
5) Crews will have permanent access to the land forever.
6) It is highly unlikely anyone will ever want to buy your property near the pipeline.
There is good news:
1) Property owners can legally refuse to allow Dominion on their property to survey, since eminent domain has not been established.
2) There are local karst experts who are available to help you, because you need to know the geology of your property.
When the pipeline was first proposed, it was going through the Monongahela Forest in the north. Now that the US Forestry Service has refused to allow the pipeline, we are at risk of losing much more than we could ever gain. The majority of pipeline property tax will end up in Charleston, crime will come with the work project, and few jobs will employ locals at any point. The purity of our water will be in constant jeopardy a precious resource that cannot be fixed or replaced once lost. It sustains our bodies, our farms, our forests and our tourist economy.
What can you do?
Email your County Commissioners on their website. They supported the northern route through the Monongahela that was rejected by the Forest Service. Insist that they officially oppose the pipeline in Pocahontas County and no longer support it at all, anywhere. Request that our Commissioners write a letter of opposition to the Federal Regulatory Commission. Tell our Commissioners that we want a public hearing locally with FERC before they consider Domi- nion’s plan. It is time for Big Energy to stop colonizing our beautiful West Virginia and steamrolling over all of us.
Trish McNaull

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