Pipeline Opposition Group Forms In Buckingham

Published 11:33 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — An opposition group to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has formed in Buckingham County.

About 19 people gathered at a home in the Yogaville community during Friends of Buckingham, Virginia’s (FOBV) organizational meeting—one that included the appointment of officers, creation of committees, and formation of initiatives to educate the public about the estimated 25.5 miles of 42-inch natural gas pipeline that Dominion, along with three other partners, wants in Buckingham. The project would include a gas-fired compressor station in the western portion of the county.

“Oh yeah, very definitely,” responded Chad Oba, one of the two co-chairs of the group, when asked if FOBV was opposed to the pipeline. “We were all in agreement of that…I don’t want us to just be about being opposed to things, either. There certainly was the impetus to get going and organize and try to fight this thing off. We want to stand for something too,” she related.

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Kenda Hanuman, the other FOBV co-chair, told The Herald during a telephone interview, that she felt optimistic following the Wednesday, October 15 organizational meeting.

“I feel that we’re uniting and starting our outreach to the greater Buckingham community. We’re getting good support…” the Yogaville resident stated, adding that one of the objectives of the group was to educate people about the “…detrimental effects of the proposed pipeline, and to stop the efforts to run the Dominion pipeline through here.”

“It’s going to be more encompassing than just opposing a pipeline…” Oba said of the mission statement of FOBV. “We need to stay involved with what’s going on here in Buckingham. These things are going to keep happening…We don’t want to see Buckingham become a dumping ground for everything that comes along.”

Along with the two co-chairs, FOB also has appointed a treasurer and a secretary, and has formed seven committees, along with a task force, that revolve around outreach and education, research, fundraising, legal matters, and communications.

Oba says that FOBV plans to ask the board of supervisors to reconsider their five-to-one vote on the Commonwealth Regional Council-requested resolution of support for the pipeline. “It might be as early as next month,” she said when asked when FOBV would present a rewritten resolution regarding the pipeline to the supervisors.

Regarding objectives of the task force, Oba related, “We’ve partially done the first [objective] which is to write and distribute the letter to…landowners and compressor station [affected] neighborhoods…We’re going to write a petition and a handout to be distributed.”

The group is also planning informational presentations and plans to attend Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings, and has distributed lists of addresses to write letters to opposing the project and has obtained ‘No Pipeline’ signs and bumper stickers, along with the creation of a website.

Representatives have met with House of Delegates member Matthew Fariss (R-59), along with Charlotte Rea, with Friends of Nelson, another opposition group. According to Oba, Fariss agreed to write a letter to FERC on FOBV’s behalf “…saying that he stood with us…He gave us some advice,” she noted.

FOBV plans on incorporating, along with joining the Alleghany Blue Ridge Alliance, a coalition of organizations concerned about the natural gas pipeline.

Oba says the group has received support from several of Yogaville’s governing boards and committees.

“Yeah, it’s been an extraordinary experience…” she shared. “The Board of Trustees came out in full support of opposing this pipeline…The monk order out there…[which] often [doesn’t] get involved in these kinds of things, really just came out full force, and said, ‘No, this is not good for our county.’ It threatens what they’re doing here, too.”

For more information on FOBV, contact Oba at chado108@me.com or friendsofbuckinghamcountyva@gmail.com, Hanuman at 434-969-1586, or visit www.friendsofbuckinghamva.org or www.facebook.com/ProtectBuckingham.