Bolar ACP opponents face Goliath

There is only one way in and one way out of Lynne and Bill Limpert’s home in Little Valley near Bolar. They are two of more than a few landowners in this situation whose properties could be crossed the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. They spoke with Allegheny Mountain Radio about their concerns around the impact of a pipeline, and their belief in activism. Lynne Limpert:

“We’re very concerned about our water resources, our springs and our wells here, specifically in Little Valley where we live. My second concern is imminent domain, that a for-profit company can take people’s property for their own gain. You know, there are plenty of pipelines, already existing pipelines that could be retrofitted and used, or they could follow existing power rights of way, utility rights of way. My third concern is safety, not only from explosions, but also from our highly erodable and very steep slopes here, and we’re in a very narrow flood prone valley. This kind of heavy construction is only going to promote more landslides. My fourth concern is climate change. I mean, why in this point in human history are we promoting building more pipelines to facilitate more fracking and more mining of oil. It just doesn’t make sense in this point of our history.”

Bill Limpert felt clarity from Dominion on what they will and will not be responsible is essential.

“Well, we saw a big injustice, on the part of Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in that their proposal for their liability for our water resources is only one hundred and fifty feet from the construction zone for wells. They had no proposal for spring water. And they advised that they would replace or reimburse a person’s well water if an investigation, by whom we don’t know, proved that the damage came from the construction site. So, the burden of proof would be on the well owner. So, we know from numerous studies in karst areas such as this, here in Little Valley, but also through most of Bath County, and most of Augusta County, that pollutants can travel eight to ten miles from a construction zone. Additionally blasting, which would be required virtually through the whole county could easily collapse the fragile limestone passages that carry water to our springs and wells. And I should put out that everyone along the line here in Bath County uses spring or well water. There is no public water available whatsoever. So, we thought this was a grave injustice, and came up with a letter basically demanding that Dominion, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and FERC provide more guarantees, or a greater guarantee of our water resources up to two miles from the construction line. And so we’ve developed a letter, and, I think about sixty people have agreed to sign on at this point. We expect a number more of additional folks from Augusta County to sign on as well. And then we’re going to go ahead on and send that to Dominion and to FERC, basically demanding that they reimburse people within two miles of the construction zone for springs and wells, and that they guarantee that they’ll have good drinking water.”

Bill and Lynne both understand the effort it takes to reach lawmakers and policy makers is huge, and a stretch for people working full time jobs or raising children. So their diligence, along with many others’ in Bolar and Burnsville and the wider Bath and Highland area remains strong. And Bill goes straight to the top.

“In the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve been going to the President’s website where you can contact him. It’s a maximum of   2,500 characters, so you have to keep it to a paragraph or two. Most of my comments to the President end with a statement asking him to issue an order to stop FERC from issuing any further approvals for gas pipelines until the agency can be thoroughly reviewed, and corrective measures taken, so that the agency is more accountable to the public.”

Pipeline opponents will also be gathering at the Dominion headquarters in Verona near Staunton each Wednesday in September.

“I’m happy to see people participating, and we need to get the word out regarding the abuse of our private property rights by this private profit making company.”

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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