Friday, December 12, 2014

Community meeting targets Mountain Valley gas pipeline: Dec. 12, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at El Cazador restaurant in Chatham/ Roanoke Co. supervisors oppose natural gas pipeline

Community meeting targets Mountain Valley gas pipeline

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 9:22 am
Star-Tribune Staff

Area residents interested in information about how other communities have and are dealing with natural gas pipelines have an opportunity Friday evening to hear about issues in Dickenson County.
  Michael Yates, commissioner of the revenue in Dickenson County, has a pipeline on his property and will talk about how he and the county have tried to ask the right questions, make wise decisions and support individual and county rights.

The event is scheduled, Friday, Dec. 12, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at El Cazador restaurant in Chatham.

Yates will share information about ordinances that help control the gas industry, benefits of a pass through tax, the importance of getting the state legislature involved, and the possibility of benefiting from a gross receipt tax.

He will also share his experience of dealing with a pipeline on a personal level.

Yates has been quoted as saying natural gas hydro-fracking is a two-edged sword.

“It is wonderful for the gas industry and the country’s need for energy, but most people who have dealt with it say they wish they had never heard or seen the gas companies,” he said.

Dickenson and Buchanan counties are reportedly the state’s two largest gas producers, but that has resulted in complaints, disputes and lawsuits.

The event is sponsored by Piedmont Residents in Defense of the Environment.

Roanoke Co. supervisors oppose natural gas pipeline

Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 6:30 pm
By Duncan

The joint venture that wants to build the interstate Mountain Valley Pipeline got off to a bad start this fall with members of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, who first learned from constituents or the news media that the natural gas pipeline’s proposed route would take it through the county.

Chairman Joe McNamara and supervisors Butch Church and Jason Peters referenced that early dearth of communication during discussion Tuesday afternoon that preceded the board’s 4-to-1 vote to pass a resolution expressing its opposition to the proposed pipeline.

The supervisors said a presentation to the board by pipeline executives in mid-October was disappointing. McNamara said pipeline officials seem to be available only after realizing that the Mountain Valley Pipeline is on the board’s agenda.
“Where were you the last three weeks when we were trying to get information?” McNamara asked rhetorically.
Although Supervisor Al Bedrosian cast the lone “no” vote, he joined his colleagues in voicing concerns about the buried pipeline’s current route, which would take it close to the Spring Hollow Reservoir, an important regional source of drinking water, as well as to Camp Roanoke and Bottom Creek.
Bedrosian also expressed dismay that Mountain Valley could ultimately acquire rights-of-way across reluctant property owners’ land through eminent domain.
But he said he voted against the resolution because he felt it was not specific enough in citing the concerns underlying the opposition it expressed. Bedrosian said he supports the right of private companies to earn a profit and noted that nearly everyone relies on an energy source that uses a fossil fuel.
Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, said that the proposed pipeline’s current routing would travel “just under 10 miles” in Roanoke County.
Cox said about 70 property owners in Roanoke County have been contacted by a pipeline subcontractor seeking permission to survey their land for a possible route. She said about 55 percent of those property owners have granted permission. That figure compares with about 82 percent granting permission along the pipeline’s full 300-mile route, according to Mountain Valley.
In recent filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mountain Valley, a joint venture of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy, reported that the company is considering siting an above-ground compressor station at milepost 224, which would be within Roanoke County. Milepost 224 is about 2,000 feet from the Spring Hollow Reservoir.
Mike Mayo, who owns property in the vicinity of the reservoir and Camp Roanoke, attended the supervisors’ meeting. He said afterward that he has refused permission for his property to be surveyed and intends to stick to that position.
During the meeting Mayo sat next to Maurice Royster, manager of government relations for EQT Corp. Mayo said Royster visited his property several weeks ago and was cordial and professional during the visit.
Royster declined to comment after the supervisors’ vote, deferring to Cox, who was not immediately available Tuesday night.
Dan Crawford, group chairman of the Roanoke Group of the Sierra Club, said he was pleased by the vote.
“I’m delighted,” Crawford said, noting that the board’s opposition reflects its apparent understanding that the pipeline ultimately is not in the best interests of the county, the region, the state or the nation.
As proposed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline would travel through several counties in West Virginia and five counties in Virginia: Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke, Franklin and Pittsylvania. The pipeline would terminate at a Transco pipeline in Pittsylvania County.
The interstate pipeline would transport natural gas at high pressure through buried, 42-inch diameter steel pipes. The source of the natural gas would be hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of drill wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
If FERC approves the pipeline project, Mountain Valley would have access to eminent domain to obtain rights-of-way across private property.
Proponents say the pipeline would help transport abundant natural gas to markets, support conversion of coal-fired power plants to natural gas, stimulate economic development and more.
Opponents say the project threatens the environment, property values and safety, and lends continued support to a fossil fuel extracted via fracking, a controversial practice.
The company is in the early stages of seeking FERC approval. Related community open houses are set to begin Dec. 15 in Pittsylvania County. For the schedule, go to
Meanwhile, Preserve Roanoke and Preserve Bent Mountain will host a “Pipeline Pushback” meeting Wednesday night to discuss tactics to oppose the pipeline. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Bent Mountain Center on Tinsley Lane.