Dominion Holds Second Open House in Highland
An army of Dominion Resource employees, contractors, public relations and security personnel descended on Highland County Thursday evening for the company’s second open house related to their proposed natural gas pipeline project. Dressed in a uniform of blue sweatshirts bearing an Atlantic Coast Pipeline logo, and wearing stickers which proclaimed “Energy Now” and “Energy Independence”, 40 company representatives met with landowners, stakeholders and interested citizens at the Highland Center from 5:30 – 7:00.
The format for the evening was similar to the company’s first open house held in September. Display boards, maps and other visual aids were arranged at manned tables to inform attendees on the proposed route, construction, geology, safety and economic information. By far the busiest areas were the route maps, as landowners studied the most current route, which according to company representatives, has had hundreds of changes since the last meeting, based on surveying and landowner input.
The other major change from the earlier open house was that Thursday evening’s event was attended by employees from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the entity which will ultimately decide whether the project moves forward or not. The F.E.R.C. area was bustling all evening, as concerned citizens voiced their opinions and learned more about the approval process.
The crowd was estimated at nearly 100 attendees, including landowners who are now facing the prospect of meeting the company in court over the right to have their land surveyed for the route. Law enforcement was present, but ultimately not necessary – there were no disruptive incidents or trouble at the meeting.
This is the company’s last open house to address and inform the public. F.E.R.C. has now opened the public comment period, and will be holding “scoping” meetings in various locations to allow the public to comment in person.
Tune in to Allegheny Mountain Radio next week for more in depth coverage of the open house, including interviews with Dominion representatives, concerned citizens, geologists and F.E.R.C representatives explaining the commentary and approval process.