Preserve Giles County, an anti-pipeline citizens group, is kicking off a series of candidate forums tonight with the 21st District Virginia Senate seat.
Incumbent Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and independent challenger Don Caldwell are expected to attend.
Edwards has come out against the pipeline. Caldwell said he doesn't like the project, but expects it will get the federal approval it needs. The region has to be ready with a backup plan in that event, he said.
Tonight's forum with be held from 7 to 9 p.m. (with a social period to follow afterward) at the Pearisburg Town Hall, 112 Tazewell St.
Candidates will be asked to make an opening statement and then take questions from the audience. The forum is open to the public, and questions won't have to be limited to the pipeline.
Giles County landowners have been among those leading the legal fight against a contentious 2004 state surveying law that allows natural gas companies to enter private property without consent.
Tonight's candidate forum is the first organized by the all-volunteer Preserve Giles coalition. Others will follow on Oct. 29 for the 12th District House of Delegates race and Nov. 2 for the Giles County Board of Supervisors.
All invited candidates in those races are expected to attend the forums, said Preserve Giles coordinator Rick Shingles.
Petska is the political beat reporter for The Roanoke Times.