Abbate: Who pays for the tap?

Published 2:03 pm Thursday, September 14, 2017

As a Buckingham County resident and property owner, I support the Kyanite mine in its seeking a less costly supply of fuel for its industrial operations. Since the issue of a tap to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) supply of natural gas was raised with Dominion, the question has always been who would pay the estimated $5 million for the tap.

Without more customers for the tap the local gas distributor, Columbia, will not find it profitable to pay for the tap. Kyanite is not interested in paying $5 million for the tap, if what they are interested in is lowering their costs. And Dominion intends the ACP to be a wholesale pipeline and has not planned or budgeted any taps for Buckingham and certainly has no business reason to pay for the tap.

Buckingham County could certainly offer the gas to interested businesses to entice them to come to the county, but it has no budget to pay $5 million for the tap.

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So while this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) paints a picture of what could happen if a tap to the ACP is accomplished, the question remains … who is paying for the tap?

If no one is stepping forward to pay, the whole MOU discussion is moot and apparently serves to provide an imaginary use for the ACP in the Buckingham community.

According a Herald article from June 15, titled “Gas tap discussions continue,” Buckingham County Attorney E.M. Wright Jr. said the MOU was non-binding.

As a non-binding document, the MOU is simply a description of what could happen rather than real contracts resulting in an actual tap.

Why doesn’t the Kyanite mine tap the existing Transco Pipeline that runs through Buckingham County?

That pipeline is already built and paid for and will not cost Virginia electric ratepayers higher fees like the ACP will cost all of us.

Why should Virginia citizens have to pay more electricity just because Dominion wants profit from building their own pipeline?

The hundreds of Virginia property owners forced to surrender their land to Dominion for the ACP will not benefit from this proposed tap, nor will the residents and businesses impacted by a hazardous fuel pipeline placed on or near their communities, farms and operations.

While we know that Virginia ratepayers and property owners will suffer a great cost to fund this unnecessary proposed pipeline, the question remains: Who really pays for the Buckingham tap?

JOSEPH ABBATE lives in Buckingham County. His email address is