‘Stubborn’ board errs on pipeline statement impact decision

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On Dec. 14, the Buckingham Board of Supervisors shamefully contributed to the backward-thinking trend that could have been a bold, empowering stand for all of the citizens they are elected to represent.

The board was asked to send a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), a cumulative study of the impact of all four pipelines being proposed for Virginia.

There is no requirement to state a pro or con position to these pipelines. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have sent their requests, as have U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, Bob Goodlatte and Morgan Griffith and numerous delegates.

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Our Buckingham supervisors voted against doing so.

FERC is responsible for making these very important assessments, but they have been unwilling to address this impact on our state.

We thank Supervisor Cassandra Stish for making the motion to send the request. She also spearheaded the board’s request, filed this April, for a Buckingham hearing, an extended scoping period and broad mitigation. She has had to prod the other members of the board, who repeatedly avoid taking action, claiming their powerlessness, while holding to the promise of jobs and money.

The upcoming release of the economic impact study for Buckingham County disputes the financial gain for our county. If there were any financial gain, that money should be escrowed for the damage done to our roads, property values and to compensate the many property owners whose land, water, health and safety are within the sacrifice — or blast zone — of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and compressor station.

The reticent members of the board erroneously think that because federal powers dominate local authority, it’s futile to speak out. In a democracy it’s our right and duty to speak up. FERC is answerable to Congress, ultimately, but the call for a PEIS needs to be louder and come from every level of government. Buckingham’s support matters!

Citizens are facing enormous threats from Goliath, aka Dominion, and a stubbornly immovable board of supervisors, yet we persist.

We have taken the time to become educated about the startling truth of the oil and gas industry and the results of their polluting, toxic business. It is frightening to discover the potentially devastating impacts of this proposed pipeline and compressor station to us all.

Drops make oceans. Call your local representative to tell them you want a PEIS for Virginia.

Heidi Dhivya is a Buckingham landowner in the James River District. She serves as the secretary for Friends of Buckingham, a group opposed to the pipeline. She works as a dental hygienist, massage and yoga therapist and yoga teacher. Her email address is heidi1008@gmail.com.