A coalition of 22 organizations from across Virginia and West Virginia has formed the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance in response to the September 2 announcement of the proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline from Harrison County, W.Va., to Robeson County, N.C. Dubbed the “Atlantic Coast Pipeline” by its proponents, the project is a joint venture of Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources. The companies have not yet applied for a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Contrary to recent suggestions, construction of the project is not a certainty.
The Alliance and its member organizations are gravely concerned about the proposed route of the pipeline, which could disrupt some of the most ecologically sensitive areas in the Eastern United States, including more than 50 miles of public lands in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests. Further, much of the pipeline’s path, particularly in Highland and Augusta Counties in Virginia, would be built over fragile karst topography, a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks and characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. The impact on area water supplies of a pipeline built over such unstable geological formations could be significant. It could also present serious safety hazards to the pipeline.
Alliance members are also acutely concerned that the proposed project presents substantial unjustified risks and costs for the rural communities of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge region. These communities will bear the full impact of pipeline development, including the loss of private property, damage to their scenic landscape, and the risk of pollution, with few, if any, of the long-term economic benefits touted by proponents.
Founding members of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance are:
- Allegheny Highlands Alliance
- Augusta County Alliance
- Conservation Partners
- Cooper Conservation Advisors, LLC
- Cowpasture River Preservation Association
- Friends of Blackwater
- Friends of Nelson County
- Friends of Shenandoah Mountain
- Friends of the Middle River
- Greenbrier River Watershed Association
- Highlanders for Responsible Development
- Jackson River Preservation Association
- Shenandoah Group of the Sierra Club
- Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
- Shenandoah Valley Network
- Southern Environmental Law Center
- Valley Conservation Council
- Virginia Wilderness Committee
- West Virginia Environmental Council
- West Virginia Highlands Conservancy
- West Virginia Rivers Coalition
- Wild Virginia
More information about the Alliance and links to its member organization websites is at www.abralliance.org.