Williamsville resident discusses Pipeline

I asked Barry Marshall, owner and operator of Marshall Automotive in Williamsville what his impression of Dominion Transmission, the company behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been.

“All I saw from them was a meeting at the school, and there was not even really a discussion. It was just a brochure hand out; and in my opinion they should have had a question and answer with the citizens that they were planning on putting this thing through. I think it’s really bullyish of them to do what they did.”

In Williamsville, the first proposed pipeline route ran about the same distance to the north through Highland County and National Forest, as it is mapped to run to the south through Bath County now. In Burnsville it is proposed to run through private land, which had not been affected before, and the property of at least one owner who was affected first in Highland, and now in Bath.   I asked Barry why he thought people nearby are suddenly organizing opposition, when the threat is over two years old.

“I think it’s really just had more time for people to think about it, plus people saw that ’Hey if the Forest can cause it to be moved, maybe we can cause it to be moved as well?’ “

Do you remember how it was that you heard about it, and decided you were going to get involved with some resistance?

“Well, I’m the fire chief here in the little town of Williamsville, and I got a brochure from a company called Paradym who is publishing some brochures related to safety and the fact that we would need to do some training with our fire departments to learn how to deal with pipeline fire/explosions. I think that got me a little heated right from the beginning.”

While pipeline explosions and fires, are certainly the “public face” of the natural gas industry, the brochure I looked at with Barry also illustrates how to recognize more subtle leaks of methane.

“What are some just basic, everyday reasons that you think the pipeline is not a good idea?”

“Probably the biggest one is that if this pipeline comes through, it’s a guarantee that there’s going to be at least twenty, thirty, forty years of fracking for gas to keep it flowing. And that’s not a stepping-stone to energy freedom and clean energy. That’s just opening up a new source of pollution.”

In part two of this pair of stories Barry Marshall talks a little about this community’s efforts to let everyone know about the possible effects of a major interstate pipeline coming through, and he describes a specific “stepping stone” to less dependency on fossil fuels.

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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