Little Valley Residents Resist the ACP

This is not a NIMBY issue, or Not In MY Back Yard issue. It is one of Not in ANYone’s back yard, or so believe Jeanette and Gary Robinson of Little Valley in Bolar. Jeanette made that perfectly clear to the Dominion representative who just happened to call when I was visiting for an interview. She and her husband Gary are protecting much more than a farm that has been in her family since the 1790s.

First Jeanette described how it felt to open the letter that told them about a request for surveying just before leaving on a routine trip to Monterey. In the library there, she and Gary quickly got up to speed on what happened when the original pipeline route through Highland, over Shenandoah Mountain into Augusta County was changed.

Jeanette Robinson:

“They’re just trying to push this thing through. And one Friday I get that letter. Then the next Friday I get a certified letter telling me that they want to do the surveying. Two days later there’s a surveyor on my porch trying to locate me.”

Landowners who are concerned about what right they have to deny Dominion, a survey, have a quite a few resources available to them for guidance. While the fact that this is an interstate pipeline muddies the legal waters a little, landowners in all of the counties the pipeline is proposed to cross are successfully delaying it with lawsuits. Again Jeanette Robinson,

“They’ve had a lot better luck in West Virginia because West Virginia seems to be taking better care of their citizens, the public, versus corporations.” The record is clear that Dominion makes political contributions to our representatives in Richmond all the time, so now citizens are being challenged to speak out even more strongly about how they feel. When residents along the route do contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, one of the most frequent issues mentioned is water quality control. Gary Robinson, who has considerable experience monitoring water quality with the Save Our Streams’ procedures was recently trained in the Trout Unlimited system too. He described how that monitoring focuses on sedimentation, and agrees with the widespread concerns.

“Here in the valley we have lots of springs that serve peoples homes. It’s kasrt topography, and everything is interconnected. And they’re talking about springs that are just very, very, close to the pipeline that they’re going to consider. You know, springs a very long distance from the pipeline could be disrupted because of sedimentation during construction and after.

Members of the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance encourage landowners to test their ground water before, and if it happens, during and after pipeline construction. The reason for this is if your water source becomes contaminated, you will need records to prove the sedimentation from that construction was responsible. Another protective step is to register online with FERC, as an intervener, which will help you have stronger legal recourse if any damage occurs.

Allegheny Mountain Radio will continue to provide balanced coverage of the variety of issues, as the process continues. You’ll hear from Dominion employees, and those contracted by Dominion for groundwork.

And you’ll continue to hear from residents, on both sides of the issue. There is a little more history in parts 2 and 3 of the Robinson’s story. Until then, Gary shares more of what he already knew, and has recently had reaffirmed.

“The topography here in Little Valley is very similar to a lot of the topography along a lot of the line, which is extremely steep. Dominion rejected this route earlier because from an engineering standpoint because it was too challenging, and now that they’ve been denied access on the proposed route, they’re back to this route that they said was too difficult to build previously. To me there are many, many ways that this can adversely affect the entire community.”



Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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