Letter: Where is Mark Warner on the pipeline?

letter-to-the-editor3Sen. Mark Warner recently visited Charlottesville to participate in an employment discussion. He agreed to meet the prior evening with representatives from nearby counties regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Pre-meeting, he granted an interview where he stated that he remains neutral on the pipeline and prefers to wait until a final route is announced.

While I am pleased that he took an opportunity to listen to concerns from key individuals in communities impacted by the proposed pipeline, I am concerned that he failed to offer sufficient support to constituents in impacted communities. The majority of opposition to the project surrounds constitutional property rights; and negative safety, economic, and environmental impacts. Using Nelson as an example, Dominion’s own assessment of the current route cites more than 90% as high risk for landslides, and nearly 90% as having “re-vegetation” concerns. If an interstate highway project were proposed with such staggering numbers, would we want our representatives to remain silent until the final permits are applied for? Wouldn’t we expect flags to be raised about such a route, especially if government agencies were to come forward stating that the initial reports filed were inadequate?

The senator’s neutrality on the project has little to do with obligations inherent to his office to represent and protect his constituents. His views about natural gas as “clean energy” or the need for another pipeline through Virginia do not justify insufficient planning, or an ill-conceived route. Who could be neutral toward a highway project with such admittedly poor numbers?

Marilyn Shifflett resides in Nellysford, Va.

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