Dominion Power Spokesman Defends Alternative Pipeline Route
In prior reports from the May 20th Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or FERC) Scoping Meeting in Marlinton we spoke to a representative of FERC and to the President of Wild Virginia, who opposes the pipeline. The last interview to be presented is with Dominion Power Spokesman Aaron Ruby. Remember, you can catch up on these earlier FERC stories as well as any and all of our prior news stories at the “news” tab on our website, www.alleghenymountyainradio.org
Since the Scoping meeting was about the new alternative route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, I asked Ruby what progress was being made with that route. Ruby.
“We adopted this 95 mile route back in February” said Ruby. “And since February our Geologists, Environmental Scientists and our Civil Engineers have been out in the field. Surveyed about 75 miles of the 95 mile alternative route and based on a lot of the survey data that we’ve collected out in the field and based on a lot of the valuable input that we’ve received from individual landowners, just in the last few weeks we’ve made a number of adjustments to further minimize environmental impacts (and) address landowner requests to the greatest extent we can.”
Asked for a couple of examples of these adjustments, Ruby responded.
“We’ve identified sensitive karst features, (and) we’ve adjusted the route to avoid those areas” Ruby said. “Where we’ve identified sinking rivers or springs (or) sensitive water resources, we’ve adjusted the route to avoid those areas. We’ve also moved the route away from several homes and businesses. One of the adjustments we made to the Mingo Flats area was based on some of the surveys we’ve done in that area and some of the interactions we’ve had with landowners. And the reason we adjusted the route near Mingo Flats was you had some sensitive karst features in that area that we wanted to avoid. You also had some culture resources that we wanted to avoid and also there was some terrain issues and constructability issues that we needed to address. So yea, we’ve done a significant amout of survey in Pocahontas.”
We asked Ruby if there are there any issues with the National Forest with this new route.
“Maybe a month ago we received permission from the National forest to survey the National forest portions of the Alternative Route” answered Ruby. “And so, over the last month or so we’ve been surveying those areas as well to make sure the route is environmentally sound and is constructible.”
Ruby wanted to assure everyone that Dominion will work with landowners if at all possible.
“We have always maintained an openness and willingness to entertain any ideas that people have for ways to improve the route, strengthen the route, avoid environmentally sensitive areas, or minimize the impact on their individual property” said Ruby. “And we’ve worked with hundreds of landowners to do that. And on this Alternative Route we’ve made numerous adjustments. A lot of those were based on the survey information we collected, but a lot of them were to address specific landowner requests. A landowner says ‘I’m OK with the pipeline on my property, I just don’t think this is the best place to cross my property so let’s find a solution that works for both of us.’ And we’ve done that in a lot of instances.”
Ruby talks about what people will experience during construction.
“In terms of the disruption and inconvenience of construction, it’s temporary” Ruby said. “We build the pipeline in sections, called ‘spreads’. They’re about 30 miles or so long –give or take. A typical spread, we can complete construction on that spread in about 3 or 4 months. Sure, it can be inconvenient at times. It can be a little bit of a nuisance. There can be some additional truck traffic and some noise, but at the end of the day it’s temporary, it’s brief and life returns back to normal.”
Ruby summed by saying that the entire community will benefit by receiving substantial tax revenues and Dominion is doing everything it can to minimize impacts on landowners and the environment, but ultimately the decision will be up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.