by Bill Limpert, who is now – along with his wife – in the fourth year of fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and the Mountain Valley Pipeline as well, from Bath County, where they have a retirement home and property that would be severely impacted by the ACP.
For nearly five years now, Dominion has been trying to bully its way through thousands of properties in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina in order to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Dominion fabricated stories of why the pipeline was urgently needed to keep the lights on, and to keep us from freezing in the winter. Well, that hasn’t happened, and it is apparent now, as it was then, that this pipeline is not needed to meet our energy needs.
Worse yet, Dominion’s captive ratepayers would pay for this unjust project to the tune of $4 billion, while Dominion’s shareholders would sit back and rake in windfall profits. There is something fundamentally wrong when a utility puts shareholders above its customers (and landowners), particularly when the customers are stuck with Dominion as their only electricity supplier, and the shareholders are free to invest elsewhere.
During this increasingly old, and forever ugly episode, Dominion has continually made colossal errors in judgement. At this time, seven separate permits have been vacated or put on hold by the courts due to Dominion’s reckless route selection, and its
heavy pressure on regulatory agencies. Dominion has bragged that it came up with the route for the pipeline in 10 days. That’s four days longer than it took the Lord to create heaven and earth, but it’s certainly not enough time for mere mortals to plan
a 600-mile pipeline route that is fraught with peril.
This route passes through the entire steep and rugged Appalachian Mountain chain, where landslides could explode the pipeline. It crosses over 1,000 rivers. It would blast through pristine lands that are the last refuge of a number of endangered
species. It would traverse many miles of karst terrain, where groundwater will be polluted, and where drinking water supplies will be severely threatened. It would hasten and intensify climate change.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals found that Dominion’s plan to cross the Appalachian Trail at Reed’s Gap near Wintergreen was illegal, and overturned the United States Forest Service’s approval for that proposed crossing. Instead of taking a day or two to hastily draw up another route, Dominion now has highly paid
lobbyists in Washington, DC, actively chasing elected officials in order to get them to change the law to allow this crossing. No matter that Dominion could cross the Appalachian Trail on private land, or at other utility corridors, where several pipelines have crossed the Appalachian Trail in recent years. The folks at Dominion want it their way, the easy way, the cheap way. And they want it now.
Dominion has long owned Virginia politicians, although that stranglehold has waned somewhat in recent years. More and more politicians have seen the downside of rubbing elbows
with, and cozying up to, this corporate ogre, and have pledged not to accept any more of Dominion’s dirty money. Our federal elected officials are less inclined to march to Dominion’s tune as well.
These federal elected officials are our elected officials. We voted them into office. They represent us, and they are in our nation’s capital to serve us. Victims in the path of the pipeline, Dominion ratepayers, and all Virginians, as well as all citizens of West Virginia and North Carolina need to let their federal officials
know that we don’t want them to cave in to Dominion’s attempts to selfishly change the law so the company can once again have its way, and shortchange due process in doing so.
Please give your elected officials a call, send them an e-mail, write them a letter, or go to a local office or town hall to tell them face to face that they shouldn’t let Dominion pull a fast one, and get away with this dirty trick.
Tell them we love our land, we love our mountains, we love our streams, we want to keep our families safe, we want safe drinking water, we love our Appalachian Trail, we love our national forests, and we love our climate. We love our national parks as well, and changing the law for Dominion could set a precedent that would allow fracked-gas pipelines to cross our national parks all across our country.
Dominion has shown gross disdain for what we love, and gross disdain for us, and we need our elected officials to stand up for hardworking and law abiding men and women who are the backbone of this country.
When you contact your elected officials, please remind them that our Constitution begins with the words “We The People,” and not “Me The Corporation,” as Dominion seems to think.