Bath’s Supervisors make May decisions

When Bath County’s Board of Supervisors met Tuesday night, they had a full agenda, and a room full of concerned public.

Always a pressing need this time of year, the board efficiently addressed the budget, and tax rates. In spite of misgivings expressed by Richard Byrd, Valley Springs district, the budget was passed with a 3-2 vote. All were in favor of keeping the real and personal property taxes the same, with the real property rate at 48 cents per one hundred dollars, and the personal property rate at 35 cents per one hundred

Last month the public had reason to believe the board was going to stand in opposition to the pipeline, three months after the announcement of the changed route through Bath County. The letter they had drafted to approve this month, did not state opposition, only concerns about specific issues, if the pipeline were built. In the first of several public hearings throughout the meeting, some residents expressed strongly how they felt about the supervisors’ lack of a stand.

Steven Van Lear of Millboro district,

“What are we getting for this monstrosity? I know there are fifty-five people in this county that are being directly impacted by this pipeline. You have an obligation to represent, and I think the word was represent and serve your constituents. I hope you take this opportunity to do that.”

Ryan Hodges used a statement from another county’s letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a model to follow.

“I’d like to ask you all to consider that strong statement. That should be our goal, and I think everybody thinks of that as our first goal. That’s the best of all outcomes.”

John Cowden, one of the landowners whose property Dominion proposes to cross, gave a concise summary.

“The answer for Bath County is simply to say ‘No’. The environment, the county, and the citizens are being victimized for a for-profit corporation with no greater good being established. FERC requires that Dominion demonstrate a need for additional gas distribution infrastructure. They have clearly not done so. Serious, informed, independent studies have shown the existing Columbia XL gas line needing only thirty miles of upgrades, and reverse flow capabilities of the Transco line could supply the projected demands of the Mid-Atlantic for the next twenty to thirty years. The bottom line is that this is about Dominion executives needing to meet earnings expectations of their shareholders. Bath County is nowhere in the equation.”

Burnsville resident Anne Bryan, who has helped many residents with letters of opposition, and to register as Interveners, offered further assistance to any one who may or may not know yet if their land could be affected by construction access roads.

“I’ll be hosting a work shop, this coming Monday, and Wednesday next week, not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen in the public library. I invite you, and any member of the community to come visit. I’ll have maps from Dominion; I’ll have resources from Dominion, as well as ABRA,   What I want to do is continue to promote open awareness of what’s going on.”


After some lengthy explanation by Valley Springs representative Richard Bird, about the need to get this letter in the mail promptly, Matt Ratcliffe, Warm Springs district, motioned to add a statement specifically expressing the Board’s opposition to the pipeline, saying they hope FERC will deny the application, and asking for the federal scoping period to be extended until July second. The motion passed 4-0, as supervisor Collins was absent by this point. There was a little more discussion of who would sign the letter, and another motion approving that it be sent. Then the issue was at rest for the evening.

For part two of this report on a few more of the agenda items from Tuesday night, please stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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