Dominion Resources Holds Open House in Highland

The gymnasium at The Highland Center in Monterey was a hub of activity Tuesday evening, as Dominion Resources held an open house to discuss the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Dominion is the lead company in the joint venture which would construct a 550 mile pipeline carrying natural gas across 3 states, including Virginia and West Virginia. The open house Tuesday evening was the second in a series that will be held in counties affected by the pipeline’s path. A Pocahontas event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 24th at the Durbin Volunteer Fire Department.

The open house was the first opportunity for Highland County officials and residents to review proposed plans and path in greater detail, as well as ask questions and raise concerns. The initial agenda for the evening was for the meeting to open at 4:00 for invited officials present, followed by landowners and then the general public – however, concerned and curious citizens began entering soon after the doors opened to see what information was present. Crowd estimates were placed at 250 guests until the event ended at 8:00.

Also notably present were local and state law enforcement officials to contend with any possible disturbance, which ultimately proved unnecessary. While emotions ran high among some of the attendees, there were no incidents requiring intervention. A group of protestors was present on the sidewalk in front of the building, but they were able to make their opinion and presence known without impeding the company representatives or the general public. Highland County Sheriff Tim Duff praised the civility of everyone involved with the meeting, and said he had truly expected no less.

Once inside, guests were presented with various stations to review the project. Tables and tripods were covered with posters, maps and handouts detailing the proposed route, along with environmental, economic , and safety considerations. These stations were manned by a group of 30 Dominion Resource representatives, company experts and contractors to answer questions.

The pipeline will cut a 26-27 mile corridor across Highland County. Landowners directly affected by the pipeline’s path had the opportunity to study in greater detail how their property would be affected, and raise ecological and historical concerns. Dominion representatives stressed that the actual placement of the pipeline was not fully determined, and indicated they welcomed such input for guidance.

The Highland County Board of Supervisors took no official position on the project, but Board chair Kevin Wagner said he welcomed the event as an opportunity for the public to gather more knowledge, hoping that some questions were answered even while others would be raised. Supervisor David Blanchard agreed, saying the public and officials will have much to consider over the next 2 years.

The open house in Highland was the first step in Dominion addressing local concerns about its proposed project. Dominion representatives indicated they were pleased with how the meeting had gone, and welcomed additional input, while also acknowledging many steps ahead before implementation, including governmental and regulatory approval.

Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for more in depth conversation and coverage of Tuesday night’s event.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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