By David Esteppe
When Dominion Resources Corporation representatives arrived to provide information and receive public input in Durbin at the end of September about the controversial 42 inch pipeline being proposed to rifle through no fewer than 28 properties, three riverways and the Monongahela National Forest, over 100 people attended. As reported in the Pocahontas Times, there was no animosity or confrontations during the event.
A newer route was indicated on maps with a red marker, as Dominion construction supervisor Greg Park explained that a change had been made after consultations with National Forest managers. The newer route now shifts north of the area of Cheat Mountain Club lodge and several upscale homes. The new route still crosses the West Fork of the Greenbrier River.
When asked when a final route would be provided, Park answered that, “Honestly, the route could change right up until construction.”
Pocahontas Times reporter Geoff Hamill asked, “How is this providing information to the public to make up their minds about the project?” Park’s response was inconclusive.
At the invited-but-unattended-by-Dominon open house, hosted by West Virginia Wilderness Lover’s (WVWL) Atlantic Coast Pipeline, on October 16 in Mill Creek, there was conflict in the discourse.
As reported by The Inter-Mountain’s Matthew Burdette, landowner Joao Barroso spoke of how he traveled home from China to engage Dominion and their surveyors. Barroso owns 648 acres in Mill Creek. He said he has not gotten answers to any of his questions from Dominion. He noted a letter from Dominion that mentioned public hearings. There weren’t any in Mill Creek, Huttonsville or Randolph County. Barroso expressed how special his property is to his family. He spent seven years looking for property, and this has the water features, caves, and ponds that are so vital to the property. “I wouldn’t have put my family on a piece of property with a pipeline that can burst into flames at anytime,” said Barroso.
Pipeline worker for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 132 in Charleston David Arbaugh took issue with Barroso, and WVWL and their anti-pipeline stance.
“My family depends on pipeline work to make a living. I have been doing this since 1968. You all have power, you have lights, Where does this power come from?” asked Arbaugh. He also stated that most reputable companies, including the ones he thinks will work on this pipeline, will treat the land and local residents with respect.
WVWL’s Lauren Ragland then stated, “The maps are fuzzy, I can’t tell you how many landowners there are. There are a lot of them on those maps. For this reason, Dominion should give all of you the respect and answers, communication, maps and letters, everything you need to know. You deserve that.”
A newly formed coalition, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition (DPMC), is taking a stand in opposition to Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The coalition will use a corps of volunteers to monitor the project not only form the ground, but also from the air. The coalition currently consists of 11 organizations engaged in fighting the proposed pipeline. To contact DPMC, call Coordinator Rick Webb at 540-468-2881, or email email@example.com.
This week, the office of republican State Senator Clark Barnes of Randolph County announced a proposed gas pipeline project which will impact Webster, Nicholas and Greenbrier Counties. Company officials with EQT Corporation met with Barnes in his Charleston office this week and provided preliminary details of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project.