By Dan Heyman, Public News Service
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Dominion Energy and partners are running into intense resistance in their efforts to survey for a huge pipeline intended to carry Marcellus and Utica natural gas.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has provoked intense opposition from landowners. Pen Goodall’s sheep farm is straddling the Virginia, West Virginia border. He’s being sued for refusing to allow Dominion surveyors onto his land but says he’d rather go to jail than let them survey.
“I’m going to stand my ground because it will just totally destroy everything I have ever done,” says Goodall. “My farm has around 32 springs on it, and creeks and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The $5 billion, 550-mile pipeline would carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day from northern West Virginia with connections to Ohio and Pennsylvania. It would reach as far as North Carolina. Dominion says it would lower natural-gas prices, which should create 2,000 jobs.
Rick Webb, coordinator of the Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, says the preferred route would pass though some environmentally sensitive areas. He says it would send the pipeline through land that’s very rugged, tough and problematic to build in.
But he says the company seems to care little what landowners and environmental groups say, although they may run into legal issues they can’t ignore.
“I don’t think public opinion is the problem,” says Webb. “It’s the legal issues. Some of these landscapes have protections. Dominion is going to have problems. It’s not going to be able to circumvent dealing with these issues.”