This is a guest post from Virginia Atlantic Coast Pipeline Fellow, Nqobile Mthethwa, you can reach her at NqobileM@chesapeakeclimate.org.
Over 50 people gathered at the Frances Redwood Center on July 22nd to discuss the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Compressor Station in Buckingham County. The seminar was a joint effort by Friends of Buckingham, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Yogaville Environmental Solutions. This seminar was presented to the annual session of the United Baptist Association of Central Virginia.
The presentation gave an overview of the proposed 550 mile and 42 inch Atlantic Coast pipeline and the rush for natural gas in the eastern region of the United States. Friends of Buckingham member Kenda Hanuman presented the dangers of compressor stations and what the proposed Buckingham station would mean for the community. Concerns ranging from toxic emissions, land rights, noise and light disturbances, and the creation of only 2 full time jobs from the station were all discussed.
Following the presentation, community members engaged by firing off questions about the proposed pipeline and compressor station. People were concerned how noise levels that accompany this type of infrastructure would affect sleep in this rural community. Many had pointed questions about the elderly people of Buckingham with compromised health issues including respiratory conditions. The elderly fear their lack of mobility could be detrimental in the event of leaks and explosions.
Many people had questions about the economics, specifically the outsourcing of jobs to out of state workers, the loss of land and depreciation of its value, and supposed tax benefits gained by the people of Buckingham being outweighed by health/environmental costs. Especially concerning was the difficulty of tapping into the gas to be used by Buckingham. Right now, if a county or business wanted to use gas from the pipeline, it would cost $5 – 8 million to ‘tap’ the line.
Citizens are troubled with the way Dominion is forcing their way onto private property by lawsuits against innocent citizens. Many people’s families have lived in Buckingham for hundreds of years. Dominion is willing to compromise the health and livelihood of Buckingham citizens for empty promises of cheap natural gas and economic benefits.
The general consensus among attendees was there is no benefit to Buckingham citizens or anyone else in the pipeline path, there are only costs to health, community and the environment. Further, they saw that natural gas isn’t a sustainable source of energy because the effects of climate change are predicted to get worse with the continued use of fossil fuels.
The more people learn about this project, the more people turn against the ACP. We see citizens of all faiths and regions in Virginia are standing together in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and compressor station. Like the folks in Buckingham, people across Virginia have been and will continue to build coalitions to resist every point of the destructive proposed pipeline and compressor station. The Buckingham meeting has reaffirmed the belief that “Organized people will always win over organized money.”