SELC testifies before Congress on the need to consider the local communities impacted by natural gas pipelines on federal lands

congressSouthern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Wednesday on the failure of the proposed National Energy Security Corridors Act to account for the significant impacts that natural gas pipelines crossing federal lands would have on the surrounding local communities and private property. The proposed legislation would allow pipelines to be sited through federal lands without providing the general public an opportunity to weigh in.

Buppert explained to Congress that the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline have encountered broad opposition from many Virginia communities surrounding the pipelines’ paths. Community members have cited serious concerns about the negative impacts that a natural gas pipeline would have on property values, drinking water sources, historic properties, archeological sites, tourism and more.

In the last year private companies have proposed three large-diameter gas pipelines that would cut through western Virginia and scar the landscapes of public lands on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, Jefferson National Forest, and George Washington National Forest. These three separate pipeline plans are reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in isolation without consideration of the best way to meet the regional needs in the most streamlined and least harmful way.

“What we need right now in Virginia is a regional plan. First we need to know whether the demand for natural gas can justify the impacts of new pipeline infrastructure in our state,” said Buppert. “Any proposed route should be planned with input from the public and provide the greatest protections possible to private property, local communities, and the environment of the entire region.”

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