Our take on the pipeline

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016

It’s our opinion that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is going to benefit Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.

The positives outweigh the negatives, which, no doubt, are evident.

Not only will the pipeline and its associated facilities generate much-needed revenue for these three counties — millions of dollars, in fact, over the first 10 years — they will also help fulfill the nation’s energy needs, using a low-cost energy source that is decreasing the nation’s dependence on foreign imports, which is a good thing for all of us.

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Though we endorse the project, we don’t endorse some of the ways that Dominion — the lead partner of the joint venture building the pipeline — has worked with the public during the process.

In November, the U.S. Forest Service said ACP LLC was not diligent in following its protocol and responding to its review qualifications of field personnel. Dominion has been unwilling to hold an informative and objective public forum on its proposed project — one that we called for with the Buckingham Board of Supervisors months ago. Much more public dialog is needed than simply three Community Advisory Group meetings, which were controlled by Dominion and only seemed to fuel the fire of opponents.

It’s also not right that the energy giant moved the route in Buckingham several times after the first FERC open house, where citizens had limited opportunity to air their concerns to the federal entity.

We also decry the way the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors has neglected the interests of landowners and those concerned. Our earlier-referenced public forum fell on deaf ears. Supervisors also chose not to ask federal regulators to consider a Programmatic Environmental Impact Study of all proposed natural gas pipelines in Virginia despite numerous calls to do so by their constituents.

Those who live along or near the proposed route and in the vicinity of the proposed 41,000-horsepower compressor station have valid concerns about the project. They need to be taken seriously by both Dominion and county supervisors.

Dominion has a ways to go to show the people of Buckingham that they’re going to be a good neighbor in a project that’s needed for our region.