Unwise Pipeline Needs People Power
I tire of corporate smoke and mirrors, lies and greed. They say natural gas pipelines are safe. If they are so safe why were there seventy “significant” natural gas pipeline incidents in 2013?
And don’t forget about the San Bruno explosion that killed eight people, wiped out a neighborhood and three dozen homes in 2010.
The biggest safety/environmental issue facing us here in the Shenandoah Valley, right now, is the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Most of the local people oppose it and several organizations were born out of the struggle to fight it: Augusta County Alliance, Friends of Nelson County. Many other existing organizations support the fight such as the Shenandoah Valley Network and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Many organizations have joined the aforementioned in support of the fight, including the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance and mine.
There is a petition to tell our Governor to reverse his support of the pipeline because of the numerous negative impacts outlined in the petition statement. If you agree, click on the link, sign the petition and share it on your social media outlets.
Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas plan to construct a 550-mile long and 42-inch diameter pipeline from Harrison County, West Virginia to the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the pipeline Dominion will have the power of eminent domain to do this. They already have the authority to have surveyors enter private property without landowner consent. These are granted under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Virginia’s Wagner Act of 2004.
This will be a $5 billion project that will go through the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests, through the active geologic formation known as “Karst” in the valley of Virginia then through the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the Atlantic Ocean. There will be a spur to Chesapeake, Virginia with the main line deep into North Carolina.
Wanting to know more I visited the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s website. It appears that there is going to be a natural gas pipeline near everyone soon! It seems we are trading one evil (coal) for another (fracked gas). Why can’t we invest more in renewable energy instead of relying on non-renewable fossil fuels?
What bothers me most is the general attitude of the Dominion Resources people that spoke to us at various meetings. They are going to ram this pipeline down our unwilling throats and take our property rights through eminent domain. If there were some extrinsic values to the project like some of the profits going to “Habitat for Humanity”, Hospice or Storm Water improvements I would have a listening ear, but as far as I can tell it’s all going into the corporation’s coffers. It’s Robin Hood in reverse – the rich take from the poor to give to themselves.
Today’s corporations have far more power than people. They have the money and the law on their side. It’s time to shift this power back to the people. We need to overturn “Citizens United” and we need to reform the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.
I wrote an OPED piece for the Bay Journal News Service about this. I sent a draft to the editor and he replied, “So, tell me Mr. Whitescarver, how do you feel about this pipeline? 😉 We’ll need to cut at least 50 words. And I’d like you to look at the tone here and there. I like the outrage – no worries. But where you verge on calling them bandits, cheats, and liars see if there’s another way of making the point”.
Here’s the final copy.