A coalition of 22 organizations from across Virginia and West Virginia has formed the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance. The Alliance formed in response to the September 2nd announcement of the “Atlantic Coast Project,” a natural gas pipeline proposed as a joint venture between 4 major US energy companies: Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources.
Lewis Freeman is the Steering Committee Chair for the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance. “Our common bond is a grave concern about the ecological as well as economic impacts that the proposed pipeline would have on the areas through which it goes,” Freeman said.
On Monday, the Alliance issued a statement saying that the current pipeline route could disrupt some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the Eastern United States, including more than 50 miles of public lands in the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests.
Much of the pipeline’s path would be built over fragile karst topography, a landscape characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. The statement explained that a pipeline built over such unstable geological formations could lead to significant impacts on area water supplies. It could also present serious safety hazards to the pipeline.
Alliance members are also concerned that the proposed project presents substantial unjustified risks and costs for the rural communities of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region.
“It is not clear that there would be economic benefits for Highland C0unty or Augusta County or the other counties involved,” Freeman said. “Quite the contrary, we already see some evidence of a negative economic impact. For instance, property having trouble selling because of people being turned off by the idea of a pipeline being approximate to the property they thought they were interested in.”
For more information about the Alliance and links to its member organization websites, visit www.abralliance.org.
“One thing that we all agree on is that the route that has been proposed presents serious dangers that should not be ignored.”