• 66°

Pipeline is not ‘a done deal’

By Bob Day

In another time and place, a project such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would have already started construction. Little things like the Cow Knob salamander would have never been noticed, with air and water purity easily sacrificed, and anyone in the way would be just another casualty lost to the god of progress.

As we have watched one species after another disappear and clean air and water become precious commodities, we have put limits on our rush to oblivion. Even the almighty Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can be taken to court and successfully challenged as with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network vs. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission suit in 2014.

Today it’s not just a single farmer with a shotgun standing alone trying to protect his field.

It’s legions of accountants and lawyers, economic feasibility studies and people all over the country networking and confronting the fossil fuel industry.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Nelson County are fighting back with numbers that refute Dominion’s claim of no damage.

With thousands of comments from individuals challenging the route, general safety, environmental damage and the premise of “public need,” the ACP is facing strong opposition.

As I watch this amazing drama unfold it seems as though many of the circumstances that would have made the ACP profitable have changed just in the past year. Gas prices are falling. Saudi Arabia is converting to solar power for its internal use and plans to export panels (while selling its oil reserves as fast as possible). Solar energy gotten even cheaper.

Natural gas is not the energy solution anymore but merely a temporary bridge.

Even with all the hopeful signs around me, every once in a while I go to a dark place and imagine my peaceful private home opened up to a pipeline army.

I see roads clogged and destroyed by construction traffic.

I imagine the low-frequency rumble of the compressor station always around me with occasional changes of wind bringing unknown fallout, clogging my lungs and poisoning my land and water.

Then I remember this isn’t a done deal.

Bob Day is a 15-year Buckingham landowner and resident, living in the path of the proposed pipeline. His email is ramdai@juno.com.