‘Shut this madness down’

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I think it is reasonable to expect household plumbing to leak. Now add to that a 42-inch, high-pressure, toxic, fracked-gas, 600-mile pipeline with shutoff valves every 20 miles and one Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration inspector for every 5,000 miles of pipeline nationwide that would run through the steep Appalachian terrain, through the headwaters of the drinking water of our nation’s capitol, our state capitol and all the communities near and far from the pathway of this pipeline as it would traverse many many streams, rivers, wetlands and karst areas.

Once an aquifer is poisoned, it is forever unusable.

Dominion began its baseline testing of water earlier this year in the proposed compressor station neighborhood in Buckingham, which prompted citizens to research what should be done independently of the pipeline company.

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We quickly realized that we were on our own as private citizens.

The public health departments are at the mercy of their chain of command — the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

There are not federal, state or local agencies who would do baseline testing of our surface and ground water, air, noise and health assessments for this highly impactful, toxic construction project. Nor would there be testing during or post construction unless, we, the people organize and fund it.

This testing should be a necessary precondition of issuing a construction permit.

But, I say because this extensive and very expensive testing should be done that this is evidence enough that this project would never be worth the sacrifice of our water, air and land.

Truly, what are we thinking? And what for: a pipeline that has not proven its need as there is plenty of evidence that existing underutilized pipelines could be used instead. And for 39 permanent jobs? The solar industry employs thousands.

What a waste! Who would want to live here when you can’t drink your own water, when you can’t bathe in it or wash your dishes?

What about the animals — will they drink bottled water and where does that bottled water come from? The DEQ has the power, but not the political will, to shut this madness down.

This is it folks. The costs of this whole project would get passed on to all of us, not the industry. Tell the DEQ to just say no.

DEQ will hold a public hearings on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project in Farmville on Thursday from 6-10 p.m. at Longwood University in Jarman Auditorium.

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud lives in Buckingham County. Her email address is heidi1008@gmail.com.