Supervisors should ‘wall off’ tap

Published 11:27 am Thursday, December 1, 2016

We who want to preserve Buckingham’s existing agricultural and clean resource-based economies are deeply concerned about the timing of the non-binding memorandum of understanding/MOU between Kyanite, Columbia Pipeline and Dominion Resources/ACP LLC.

A tap has been possible for decades between Kyanite, Columbia and existing Transco Pipeline Corridor. Kyanite first said it would not seek a tap when quoted $5 million-plus by Dominion Resources. 

 Yet, the day before the Buckingham Planning Commission made public the conditions related to ACP LLC’s application for a special use permit/SUP — to exempt its only proposed Virginia compressor station in an A1 agricultural district — this MOU with a not-yet FERC approved ACP pipeline is made public. Commissioners’ very mild conditions post-MOU have no relation to their strong conditions voiced pre-MOU addressing ACP’s 55,000-plus horsepower compressor station vulnerabilities.

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Such as 24/7 on-site personnel, a liability fund to cover damages to persons and property from accidents, use of thicker pipes and shorter valve distances. 

 Since Buckingham County has long wished to have an industrial area to attract business, this MOU may look like a dream come true. But is it?

ACP may find reasons to rescind this very provisional agreement once the county issues a far more binding SUP.

Perhaps Dominion Power proposes ratepayers pay for this tap, as they will for the entire ACP? Since this MOU’s costs and specifics are not public, yet county officials celebrate it as if done and in operation, transparency is required.

Thomas Hadwin, a gas industry professional, notes, “There is no guarantee that Buckingham could attract tenants even if they invested in the land and infrastructure to develop a new industrial area.”

 Industry studies show the existing Transco has more than enough capacity for Virginia’s interstate gas transmission needs forever and is already paid for.

Why not work with them? Why collude with Dominion’s wishes to pass on new billions in costs to ratepayers, who will then compete with far more lucrative foreign markets?  

  As Hadwin told the Planning Commission, they and the board of supervisors do have the power to reject the SUP, with strong conditions. We ask them to do so.

It can only strengthen their bargaining position with ACP LLC. In October, Franklin County supervisors turned down ACP’s application for only an easement into their existing industrial park, not a mega-sized compressor station. 

We hope that Buckingham’s board will wall off this MOU from careful analyses of the special use permit with its considerable potential losses for Buckingham’s quality of life and sustainable business development.  


Lakshmi Fjord, Ph.D., is a member of the Friends of Buckingham, co-founding community member of Yogaville in Buckingham County and a scholar-in-residence in the University of Virginia’s department of anthropology. Her email address is