‘Who is looking out for us?’

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) plan for Buckingham County has been a hot topic for some time.

Many feel that Buckingham County’s leaders have chosen to forget about the Union Hill community, where the pipeline’s impact will be felt the most. These officials were elected to office with promises to their constituents that they would protect their best interest and provide adequate information to the public. 

Although it has been reported that several meetings have been held locally, many of the residents in line of the ACP still don’t know what is going on.

The ACP’s recently proposed a 55,515 horsepower compressor station in the Union Hill community, which is much larger than first proposed. Will the 65-acre parcel be adequate for a safe buffer zone? Has any county official ever visited a compressor station the size of the one slated for the Union Hill area? The public was given assurances that this acreage would be sufficient in providing a safe zone for local residents.

The proposal calls for the station to be built in the heart of a residential community. According to the plans, 65 acres have been purchased for the facility and buffer zone even though the newly proposed compressor station is much larger than the initial 40,715 horsepower station.

It should be noted that part of this 65 acres includes a pre-existing pipeline running through the middle of the property, placing the pumping station, in reality, on only 30 acres. The buffer zone has shrunk while the facility has grown in size and horsepower leaving local residents with several questions.

Will this acreage be adequate for creation of a safe buffer zone? What will the increased horsepower mean in terms of noise levels and gaseous chemicals? Does this increase in horsepower also bring an increased risk of explosion? Has the county trained its fire and rescue squads to respond in the event that such an emergency happens? What if adjacent landowners cut the timber or clear cut the adjoining parcels of land to get some value from their properties that are pretty much worthless due to the proposed compressor station? Will this impact the effectiveness of the buffer zone? Will Buckingham County impose further land use restrictions on the area surrounding the facility?

The ACP will pump billions of dollars through our county. Buckingham County stands to make millions in revenues from this project. What do those who are affected most get? Noise!? Pollution!? Increased risk of an explosion!? Decreased land values!?

Many of the residents who will be impacted by this project wonder aloud, “Who is looking out for us?” and it doesn’t seem to be Buckingham supervisors.

Adrian Jones is a Buckingham County native who lives in Newport News. His email address is ajaye4all@gmail.com.