Highlanders For Responsible Development Asks For Scoping Period Changes

The timing of Dominion Resource’s recent announcement that they are considering an alternative route for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and informed landowners of their intent to survey property have raised concerns that affected citizens may not have time to adequately gather information and respond via comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. F.E.R.C. Is currently holding scoping meetings in various locations, which allow citizens to address Commission staff in person, and have their comments and concerns heard publicly. Coincidentally, the closest scoping meeting for Highland residents was held Thursday, March 19th, in Augusta County, the same evening as Dominion’s most recent open house.

Highlanders For Responsible Development have been an active voice in concern and opposition to the pipeline project. President Lewis Freeman announced via the organizations newsletter that he had written a letter to Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary of F.E.R.C., to request two changes to the scoping process in regards to this project.

First, citing the fact that Dominion just recently released their intent to survey for the alternative route, Mr. Freeman argues that while the normal 60 day scoping period might be sufficient for most projects, this gives improper time for proper assessment of impacts. He asked that the period be extended an additional 60 days. As it currently stands, F.E.R.C. will officially close the scoping period on April 28th. Comments will still be accepted after that period, and can be made online at www.ferc.gov.

Secondly, Mr. Freeman noted that, despite the project having a huge impact on Highland, no scoping meetings were scheduled for the county. He referenced the fact that these evening meetings are at least a 90 minute drive away, and many residents have concerns on the return trip on mountainous roads in the dark. He requested that the Commission consider scheduling an additional meeting in Monterey.

Mr. Freeman urged concerned citizens to file commentary if possible, either in person or online, in case the Commission declines to address his concerns and grant the requests.

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. scott@amrmail.org

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