I write this letter in response to Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline full page ad in The Pocahontas Times November 6, 2014 issue, page 8.
Headline in Dominion’s ad reads: “…we have a responsibility to make sure everyone knows the facts about this project.”
I’d like to point out what I think is the most important fact of this project. And that fact is the natural gas that would flow in this proposed pipeline would be obtained by fracking.
We see a full page ad about the facts, yet Dominion’s ad fails to mention this would be the massive expansion for infrastructure for large scale fracking.
I find it deceiving and horrific that this didn’t make their fact sheet.
One-hundred-fifty years ago corporate people came to West Virginia and said, “let me give you three cents per acre for your mineral rights, this is a good deal for you.”
Today, Dominion headlines tout the term “Environmentally friendly.’’
Environmentally friendly fracking is an oxymoron.
People who believe in environmentally friendly fracking are just plain morons.
Dominion’s opinion of the intelligence of the Appalachian people is an insult to me. So, dear sirs and mams of Dominion, my response to your ad is this:
You may attach all of the ribbons and bows you like and throw on all the glitter you wish, but a bucket of s–– is still a bucket of s––.
I plead that you pause from your frenzy of corporate greed and dig deep for a fragment of moral fiber and understand that the people of the Appalachians value clean water and air.
So to Dominions proposal, I say, “No, thank you.”
The proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline planned by Dominion is a controversial and debatable project. Much good is possible here as several jobs will be created while building this vehicle to take a product to market. The economic stimulus to the state and counties will be significant.
On the other hand, taking a 42” pipeline across several large watersheds without eroding and destroying the character of a lot of land, most of it privately owned, can certainly be problematic. Wells and springs could be ruined or lost and landowner rights violated. Land usage in many areas will be changed forever. And the safety of a high pressure gas line nearby will always be a concern.
There is no easy solution to this debate.
I have no land in the planned path of this pipeline, and thus, no dog in this fight. However, I do have a story to relate.
There was an old 100 acre plus farm that belonged to my ancestors in Harrison County near Clarksburg. Just the typical, subsistence farm like thousands of others in West Virginia, my grandfather carved out a living on those hillsides. He milked a few cows, ran a few head of stock, had a couple of small orchards and provided for his family like his father before him.
In the 1930s they dug a little coal out of the farm and that helped out. In the 1950s, the coal operators stripped mined a little more and rolled the overburden over the sides of the hills. Then the gas company came in and leased the shallow gas rights. An 8” pipeline was built across the property along with a 30’ right of way.
In the 1960s, the State came in and took a 20 acre strip through the middle of the farm to build a highway. The farm was growing up at that time as my grandfather had passed before I was born. The biggest chunk of land was now isolated. And the new road that we never expected to see, eventually was built and named I-79, certainly a vital economic artery for the state. Hard to imagine this state without an interstate highway.
In the late 1970s, the gas company came calling again and built a 28” to 30” pipeline parallel to the interstate. I barely remember seeing this huge pipe before it was buried, and its accompanying 100 foot right-of-way. My grandmother negotiated the contract and the settlement helped her get by.
After 30 some years, the pipeline has never caused us any problems. The gas company maintains the right-of-way by brush hogging every summer. Turkey and deer take advantage of these open areas for forage and cover for young and the hunting is great. Water bars are maintained to limit erosion. Access roads have been built and gates and locks are well maintained. On the negative side, 4 or 5 acres of future timber was sacrificed over the length of the R-O-W.
The point should be here that Dominion knows what they are doing. They employ the best engineers, and contractors will be held to the highest standards. Best management practices will be paramount. Some areas of land will actually be improved. When finished, it will be unnoticeable under pasture fields. Of course, some areas will lose a timber crop and anything over the pipeline cannot be built on.
That farm has been battered and beaten up over the last 100+ years but it has helped my ancestors to get by. Now, part of it belongs to me and my family and the gas companies are interested in the underlying Marcellus gas. The farm continues to provide. So, I guess that we do have a dog in this fight. That gas will need to go to market somewhere. And millions of people like you and me will need heat and light in our homes, schools and places of work.
That’s progress. And progress is never cheap.