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Resolution Opposing Pipeline 'Dies'

BUCKINGHAM — County supervisors in Buckingham offered no motions and took no action on a resolution opposing the proposed Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) Monday night.

The board’s consideration of the resolution, proposed by Friends of Buckingham Virginia, a group opposed to the pipeline, came after nine people spoke against the ACP during the public comment portion of the Monday, December 8 meeting.

“Obviously, we have a lot of disappointment,” noted Kenda Hanuman, a leader of the opposition group. “[We were] hoping for a more positive result, and we’ll regroup and see how we can make best possible result of this whole thing,” she told The Herald following the meeting.

A cover letter with the resolution to supervisors from Chad Oba, another chair of the group, noted that “a great deal of new information has been developed and discussed by citizens in Buckingham…since this matter first came before the board. We feel it is appropriate to ask for the passage of this new resolution to protect the interests and rights of the citizens and of the county.”

The one-page resolution, titled “Resolution Opposing Any New Gas or Oil Pipeline Projects,” cites Dominion’s proposal to construct an interstate pipeline that would transport natural gas, adding, “this pipeline does not provide any significant benefit to Buckingham County or to our region.” The project would permanently harm the environment, historic character, and rural tranquility of Buckingham, stated the document.

The resolution notes a United Nations statement on climate change caused by mass consumption of fossil fuels, a U.S. Department of Defense policy pertaining to changes caused by reliance on fossil fuels, and the National Gas Act’s allowing private corporations to “disregard the constitutional rights of citizens…”.

“Therefore, be it resolved, that the County of Buckingham opposes the construction of any such pipeline and will commit its organizational resources and political authority to resist any further damage to the county as associated with the construction of such pipelines,” the proposed resolution concluded.

During the meeting, Andersonville resident Quinn Robinson presented and read the resolution to supervisors and the audience, noting it as “a counter to the resolution” that the board approved in July—one that signaled support for the pipeline.

“I think the earlier speakers raised a number of issues that merit consideration,” Robinson, a member of the group, noted. “The revenues in no way offset the permanent damage,” he stated.

District Two Supervisor and Board Chairman Donnie Bryan, who questioned the resolution’s language concerning the pipeline not providing significant benefits to Buckingham, noted, “The latest figure I had was $1.4 million for the compressor station. That’s significant…We have pipelines here currently in the county.”

He added that he had a hard time adopting the resolution because, “The facts are not all together. They’re kind of one sided…But, to say that there is no or any significant benefit to the County is not right.”

“We lose more than we gain,” Robinson responded.

Referencing County Attorney E.M. Wright Jr.’s comments regarding the legal authority the County has in approving or disapproving the project (see accompanying page one story), Bryan continued, “…Me saying ‘No’ does nothing. Me saying ‘Yes’ does nothing, except, it’ll allow me to at least negotiate with Dominion…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it come across that a business wants gas. How else do you get gas without a line?”

“I have no problem with it,” District Three Representative E.A. “Bill” Talbert said of the pipeline.

“…Take a stand on our behalf,” Robinson said, “and we are saying, and have said consistently, this is not the way to go…Stand up for us. Represent what is in our interests.”

“If there is no motion to accept the resolution, the resolution dies,” Chairman Bryan noted, concluding the discussion.

“We know that, most likely, honestly, most likely, this pipeline is probably going to be built,” noted District Five Supervisor Cassandra Stish during the end of the meeting. “…By us having a positive statement…getting caught flat-footed, sitting here…saying ‘No’…If we’re sitting here from a ‘No’ position, we’re trying to pull together large public-private partnerships [with] millions of dollars at stake. You cannot possibly sit at a negotiating table with those people and say, ‘How ‘bout y’all ante up and let’s make ourselves a little partnership here, but, by the way, we’re against it.’ You can’t negotiate from that position. You cannot do it. It doesn’t mean that we’re not careful or thinking about the environmental impacts…Whatever we can do to say so, which is really very little.”

About 25 miles of the 42-inch natural gas pipeline would run through Buckingham County, entering west of Wingina, traveling southeast, exiting Buckingham south east of Curdsville. A compressor station with three gas-driven turbines totaling about 31,500 horsepower would be located near the intersection of the proposed pipeline and the existing Transcontinental Pipeline, which lies just north of Route 56, northwest of Union Hill Road, southeast of Shelton Store Road, and southwest of Ripley Creek.