President of Wild Virginia, Inc Presents Case against Atlantic Coast Pipeline
On May 20th, Allegheny Mountain Radio News attended the FERC Scoping Meeting in Marlinton and presented a 2 part story covering our interview with FERC Environmental Protection Specialist Kevin Bowman.
While there, I talked to Ernie Reed, who was distributing anti-pipeline literature outside the meeting. Reed is from Nelson County, Virginia and is President of “Wild Virginia. Reed describes why his group came to the FERC meeting.
“We’re here today because the Federal Regulatory Commission is asking for comments on the potential impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline” said Reed. “I am from Virginia and Nelson County where the impacts are significant. With Wild Virginia we work on the National Forests, and the pipeline is proposed to cross both the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and the Monongahela in West Virginia. And for our friends and allies in West Virginia we understand that if we are going to be successful in our effort to stop this pipeline the only way we’ll be able to do it is if we all work together. So we work with the Greenbrier Watershed Association and the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance, who works in Highland County Virginia and assist the folks here in their opposition.”
I asked Reed why he opposes the pipeline.
“We are basically opposed to it because, number 0ne, there is no purpose or need for this pipeline” Reed says. “Current pipelines in the East Coast already serve all of the proposed uses of this natural gas – and they only operate at about 50% of capacity. So there really isn’t a bonafide market for it. They have an export terminal in Lusby, Maryland that’s under construction now – although it’s being litigated as we speak – where the gas could be exported. There was a study that was just recently been done that shows that the infrastructure for this pipeline and other natural gas pipelines –the Mountain Valley Pipeline which also comes through West Virginia and others are being overbuilt. Energy companies are able to pass along the costs to rate payers and nobody in West Virginia and nobody in Virginia benefits from the use of this gas.”
The study Reed refers to is titled “Risks Associated With Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion in Appalachia” and was released April 27th by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. their website, IEEFA.org states “The Institute’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy and to reduce dependence on coal and other non-renewable energy resources.”
Reed says that since there is no bonafide need for the pipeline it is just wrong to force people to sell easements to Dominion Power through the use of eminent domain.
Although Reed says he does not totally oppose the use of Natural Gas, it, like all fossil fuels are waning and natural gas also has the disadvantage of leaking methane into the environment. He favors alternative energy use in Appalachia, although wind power might not be the most appropriate alternative energy for West Virginia. Reed explains.
“If you build wind turbines on ridge tops, you do have significant impacts to songbirds and such” said Reed. “So this is not an appropriate place for wind power, solar-yes, small scale hydro-yes. If you live along the coastline, offshore wind certainly makes the most amount of sense. “
Reed believes that it is not inevitable that this pipeline will be built. He explains how it can be stopped.
“There are two ways that I see that this pipeline is not going to be built. One is if Dominion changes its mind and sees that it’s a bigger liability to go forward with this, both economically and socially than it would be if they cancelled it and started investing in other kinds of energy or, if we stop them. Those are the two possibilities. And they can be stopped at any time and they can change their mind at any time.”
Reed added that if FERC does issue a permit for Dominion to build the pipeline, his organization and others will still do everything in their power to stop it.
Be sure to stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio to hear the other side of the story when we interview Dominion Power Spokesman Aaron Ruby.