Letter: Questions about Dominion, pipeline, in Buckingham County

buckingham pipelineIn an effort to appear compassionate to the Buckingham County community, Dominion has held a series of Advisory Committee meetings allowing residents input into the proposed compressor station slated to be built near Yogaville and two black church communities.

This compressor station will support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and its connection to existing Transco pipelines. The entire meeting format, with paint color samples, and colored dots for residents to express their areas of most concern, is similar to a pediatric orthopedist asking a child to pick the color of their cast for a broken leg. Representatives actually came forward with a color choice for the compressor station called “Buckingham slate blue”. Discussions were held about tree and shrubbery layout, lighting pointed in a downward direction, and the possibility that deer might dine on the landscaping.

I find this disturbing on many levels. When reading Dominion’s socioeconomic resource report filed with their FERC application, the statistics for Buckingham speak volumes about how Transco came to locate multiple pipelines there, and why Dominion failed to have open houses in Buckingham for the ACP, and also why no scoping meeting with the FERC was held there. In addition, Buckingham has received little attention from the press, save the Farmville Herald. The two groups primarily heading the opposition are Yogaville, whose belief system is based largely on peace, tolerance, and tranquility; and the black church community headed by Pastor Paul Wilson. I have never met finer people, but they tend not to be folks who launch into a loud public display of anger, even against Dominion.

My understanding is that Dominion is opting for older technology for this compressor station instead of newer, more expensive technology which might alleviate at least some of the noise and toxic emissions associated with any compressor station, but a significant issue with one of this size. All compressor stations are loud and generate toxic emissions associated with air quality related illnesses. Indirect lighting and attractive paint will do little to ease the damage from a compressor station on a community.

Buckingham is perhaps the most important piece of the ACP puzzle, as Dominion’s primary goal for this pipeline is the Transco connection which can send gas north to the Cove Point LNG Export facility, or south as the ACP continues on its path. And yet, they have hardly been noticed.

This community deserves more attention from the press, and more respect from Dominion than Buckingham Slate Blue paint and deer-resistant shrubbery. To quote Buckingham resident Kenda Hanuman regarding these meetings, “was Dominion’s plan ‘slick v. hick’?”

To be fair, Dominion has now quietly scheduled a Public Informational Meeting for Feb. 16th. Details should be available soon on the Friends of Buckingham County Facebook page. I hope that residents from other ACP-impacted communities and the press can attend.

Letter from Marilyn Shifflett/Nellysford, Va.

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