Pipeline Monitoring Coalition Formed

A new entity has joined the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance, the coalition formed by regional organizations in opposition to Dominion Resources Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. The Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, headed by Highlanders for Responsible Development Board member Rick Webb, plans to provide public oversight of the project, through review of site plans and permit applications, and ground and aerial surveillance for compliance with water related regulations should project construction begin.

The pipeline’s path takes it over numerous mountain ranges from 3,000 to 4,400 feet in elevation. Excavation for and construction of a 42 inch pipeline in this type of terrain is unprecedented, and the DCMP is particularly concerned about potential water issues. Because the route crosses the divide between major river basins, it could impact the upper reaches of multiple mountain headwater streams, many of which provide habitat for the region’s native brook trout and drinking water for downstream communities.

The DPMC effort currently involves numerous trained citizens and scientists who are engaged in research related to the regulatory review process, as well as in analysis of ecological conditions in the proposed pipeline corridor.

A key element in the DPMC surveillance program is the volunteer citizen Pipeline Air Force, which will observe and document construction from the air. At present this includes three planes, and the DPMC is seeking the participation of additional pilots with planes.

In addition to aerial surveillance, the DPMC plans to promote and support the involvement of regional citizen water quality monitoring groups to obtain baseline and post-construction water quality data in relation to the proposed pipeline corridor and its associated infrastructure, such as transport roads and staging areas.

Any group or individual concerned about the pipeline or wanting to participate in the DPMC’s efforts can contact coordinator Webb at rwebb@htcnet.org for information and updates.

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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