Friends of Nelson, one of several groups opposing Dominion’s proposed 42” natural gas pipeline, calls the project incompatible with the tourism and agricultural way of life in the mountainous rural county.
Charlotte Rea, Chair of the group said, “This pipeline is incompatible with Nelson County’s values and lifestyle. Our economy is dependent on tourism, recreation, and agriculture. The Dominion pipeline threatens each facet, thus the well-being of every Nelson citizen. Nelson County residents take pride in their rural heritage and strongly value their property rights. This massive pipeline project and seizure of private property has galvanized the citizens of Nelson to fight back. We are united to stop this project.”
Rea and others formed the Friends of Nelson only two months ago and the group has grown to over 1,000 members. The project has also spawned other opposition groups like Free Nelson and the Pipeline Education Group.
Friends of Nelson is calling on all citizens to attend the Nelson County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 7pm at the Nelson County Middle School in Lovingston. Representatives from Dominion will make a presentation and answer questions from the Supervisors.
Citizens and landowners in the county are quite concerned about the impact of the Dominion pipeline on their property rights, property values, rural heritage and the environment in Nelson County. Current state and federal legislation does not allow for landowners and residents to have a voice in how their land is used for “public use.” Dominion has not provided a forum for the public to voice their concerns.
Joanna Salidis said her family moved to Nelson County to enjoy a more rural lifestyle and was shocked when she received a letter warning of surveyors coming onto her property for the pipeline. She started a petition to the Supervisors that has collected hundreds of signatures in a few short weeks.
“I had hoped that the citizens most affected by this ill-conceived pipeline project would be able to ask questions directly to Dominion, but the company has refused. They threaten private property with eminent domain for their private profits, but will not even address those citizens most affected by their actions,” stated Salidis.
Friends of Nelson sent a questionnaire to 200 landowners that appear to be in the path of the pipeline. The majority of those who replied are opposed to the pipeline. Thirteen landowners have already sued Dominion for not complying with state law regarding survey of their properties. Under a 2004 law introduced by Virginia Beach Senator Frank Wagner, natural gas companies need only notify landowners before surveying their property. Friends of Nelson believes the law is unconstitutional.
Kathy Versluys, owner of Acorn Inn in Faber stated, “Besides the affront to our personal security and peace of mind, this whole project is a major threat to our livelihood and small business of 27 years. If we lose such a prominent and beautiful portion of our property due to seizure through eminent domain, our family income will be severely impacted. I think existing pipelines all over the state and country should be expanded and upgraded if some areas need more gas. This project will only hurt Nelson County and it should be scrapped.”
Friends of Nelson is citizen-run, community-based, membership organization dedicated to the protection of property rights, property values, rural heritage and the environment for all citizens of Nelson County, Virginia.