Rep. Robert Hurt

Three high-pressure natural gas pipelines that would cross large swaths of Virginia have been proposed in recent weeks. Two — the Mountain Valley and Western Marcellus pipelines — would pass through the Roanoke Valley on their way to Chatham. The Atlantic Coast pipeline would cross the commonwealth well north of Roanoke and end in Portsmouth.

All three would impact the 5th Congressional District, which is represented by Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham. And what is his opinion?

Hurt gave it last week, at least with regard to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, during an editorial board meeting at The Nelson County Times.

His mealy-mouthed answer was the lamest possible drivel:

“I think certainly with respect to what is going on Nelson County, there are a couple things to point. First, it’s a proposal and from my standpoint, I try to stay in my lane. It’s a federal issue, one that the federal district has jurisdiction over and I try to refrain from getting out of my lane,” Hurt said.

Where do we begin? It sounds like Hurt believes he's still serving in the Virginia General Assembly.

Does he realize that he's elected to a federal office? For which he's running for re-election? And that he's a United States congressman, with an office in the Cannon House Office Building, which is on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., which is the nation's capital?

The pipeline is indeed a federal issue. And Hurt is a federal office holder, and all three proposed pipelines would impact his district.

That make it his "lane." Yet Hurt seems ultra leery of staking a position, as if he wants to wash his hands of the whole thing.

You've got to wonder: why?

Contact metro columnist Dan Casey at 981-3423 or dan.casey@roanoke.com. Follow him on Twitter:@dancaseysblog.

Dan Casey knows a little bit about a lot of things but not a heck of a lot about most things. That doesn't keep him from writing about them, however. So keep him honest!

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