Dominion spokesperson encourages participation
While sections of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bath and Pocahontas County are new, the story and process towards its being built are mostly the same. So far, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not scheduled any scoping meetings where the public gets to share their concerns. Dominion does offer three Community Open Houses next week, which are part of the requirements that FERC spells out for its applicants. Aaron Ruby, media relations manager, with Dominion described these meetings.
“Those open houses are going to be really a great opportunity for land owners and residents in the community to come with their questions, to meet with us in person, have a one-on-one dialog. That gives us the opportunity to answer their questions and provide more information about the project, but it’s also a great opportunity for us to hear their input. You know, and as I said, we really do value the input and feedback of people in the community.” There will be one meeting each in Pocahontas, Bath and Augusta Counties with information about times and locations in the Community Calendar on Allegheny Mountain Radio. As Aaron mentioned, the project is still in the early stages
“So we’re still a long ways away from construction. There are several steps we need to take before we get there. Now that we’ve adopted the route, the first thing that we need to do is perform surveys over the next few months, so we can fully evaluate the route, and provide the information federal regulatory agencies need to complete their regulatory review of the project. Ultimately we need the approval of federal agencies before we begin construction. If the project is approved, and we certainly hope it will be, we’re not looking at beginning construction until early 2017.”
With a few months to go in this review process, and several more months for surveying, I wondered if maybe early 2017 might be a little ambitious.
And then, how long would it be until customers start seeing the benefits of this larger availability of natural gas?
Aaron Ruby, “It takes about eighteen to twenty four months to build a project of this size, so we expect the pipeline to be operating by the end of 2018. But, we’re still quite a ways away from construction.”
How will those property owners be impacted whose land the pipeline is proposed to cross?
“The right of way during construction is only going to be about one-hundred and twenty-five feet wide, and then, after construction is complete and we restore the right of way back to its original condition, the right of way is only seventy–five feet permanently. You know, all landowners are going to be compensated fairly for the use of their land. It’s based on fair market value, and as I said, it’s negotiated with the landowner.” Resources do confirm that access roads to all of the right–of-ways, and results of heavy trucking on local and state roads during construction are not included in that fair compensation. Whole communities will be affected, and the best way to learn more about the project is to look at some of the resources sited in previous Allegheny Mountain Radio pieces, and to attend the open house nearest you. Aaron Ruby closed with a description of this underground infrastructure that Dominion assures residents will have little effect on their property or quality of life “Virginia has more than twenty-two hundred miles of interstate natural gas pipeline. That’s more than two and a half times the miles of interstate highways in the state, and these pipelines pass through farms, residential areas, over mountains, through valleys, in every region of the state, and the impact is basically benign.”