Dominion “Spin” Out of Control

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    (It’s not even really “spin,” it’s just flat-out lies and propaganda at this point. – promoted by lowkell)

    Free Nelson Organizers photo FreeNelson_zpsd079c814_1.jpgPlease help Free Nelson and Friends of Nelson Get Support to Repeal the Survey Law!

    Today in the Roanoke Times, Dominion’s Chief Environmental Officer, Pamela Faggert attempts to justify Dominion’s bullying, abusive tactics to use lawsuits to force unwilling landowners to submit to the survey of their private property. She refers specifically to an article written by Michael Martz of the Richmond Times Dispatch, which ran in many papers across the state. The article outlined the historical and cultural treasures in southeastern Nelson County, referring specifically to the Monocan tribe villages located along the James River that would be in the path of the proposed ACP, as well as an African-American community known as Union Hill.

    Union Hill was established after emancipation when previous slaveholders gave the ancestors of current Union Hill residents land on which to live and farm. Many in this community have worked tirelessly to keep their legacy intact, but Dominion believes it simply has the right to desecrate these properties by running its 42″ behemoth through the center of this community. Union Hill also includes the first African-American Church in Nelson County, St. Hebron Baptist Church. This church was at one time a white-only church, but was deeded to African-Americans in the 1840’s. The deed includes a statement allowing both whites and blacks to preach and worship within its walls. We imagine this was there to protect the African-American worshippers since slaves were not legally allowed to own property before emancipation.

    Ms. Faggert justifies the lawsuits saying “over 3,000 miles of potential routes have been considered.” From the reports filed with FERC, it is obvious lines on maps may have been drawn for other possible routes, but Dominion gave them no serious consideration. They simply tallied the miles of forestland, wetlands, pasture and state and national properties the other “proposed routes” would traverse and summarily dismissed. They did no environmental, cultural or historical studies of those proposed routes; none at all.

    Joanna Salidis of Friends of Nelson photo JoannaSalidis_zpsdba849e5_1.jpgShe further states, “Great care is being taken to find the route that will have the least impact on all resources.” To which resources does she refer? Certainly not the resources of the Nelsonians who will be forced to give up their land against their will.  At a recent open house, a Dominion representative told a Nelson landowner who has a spring fed water system that since springs are unregulated, Dominion would do nothing to replace her water if its blasting during construction dried up or contaminated her water supply. This specialist went so far as to say no one today relies only on spring fed water. Since it is obvious Dominion is not referring to landowner resources, we can only believe Mrs. Faggert is referring to the resources her company will lose should they be forced to abandon the current proposed path.

    Since the inception of this project, Dominion has demonstrated a clear lack of empathy and concern for those affected by the proposed ACP.  We surmise that is because Dominion is only focused on its desire to make easy profits for shareholders, without regard for landowners who have everything to lose and nothing to gain.  Dominion has approached this project with the same arrogance as one of its industry publications, the Marcellus Drilling News. The MDN recently wrote about a Nelson landowner, referring to him this way, “Dominion surveyors are in the field attempting to chart a path for the new pipeline, and some landowners are none too pleased at the prospect. One crochety old geezer who lives near the fabled Walton’s Mountain area says he’ll lay down under a bulldozer if they show up on his land…”. The “crotchety old geezer” is Andrew Gantt.  His family story was told in the Nelson County Times.

    Finally, Ms. Faggert compares the proposed ACP to the many miles of gas pipelines already in place across Virginia and the thousands of jobs to be created by this pipeline. However, she fails to mention this proposed 42″ pipeline would carry approximately 30% more natural gas than any pipeline in Virginia, operating at 1440 psi.  She fails to mention Dominion has never built a pipeline of this size in this terrain.  She does not include the fact that Dominion was recently fined by WV DEP for pollution of several streams from its construction efforts on a much smaller pipeline in less difficult terrain, nor that Dominion and/or its partnerships have been a party in three significant pipeline accidents since October 2nd, 2014, nor that the jobs created will be held by experienced pipeline journeyman, not local workers. We could go on and on about the half-truths Dominion spews, but we believe we have made our point.

    We need your help. Dominion has millions, and PR firms, and lobbyists to do their bidding.  Senators Emmett Hanger and Creigh Deeds have shown true leadership by introducing legislation to repeal the 2004 survey law, Senate Bill 1338!  Please call your State Senator and ask him or her to sign onto this legislation, to co-sponsor it.  Also, please call or email members of the Senate’s Commerce and Labor Committee to vote in favor of this legislation so we can get it to the Senate floor. We have included this link which lists names, phone numbers and emails of the Labor and Commerce Committee members.

    Our communities have been working hard to fight back!  We need you and we ask for your help NOW to help move this legislation forward.

    Marion Kanour

    Sharon Ponton

    Marilyn Shifflett

    ~Free Nelson

    Joanna Salidis

    ~Friends of Nelson