By D. E. Hall
Hall is an accountant in Blacksburg.
I was amazed at the very limited knowledge of our region these “professional representatives” expressed (“Large crowd voices pipeline opposition,” Nov. 6 news story). Not only do they not have an understanding of our geographic nature, they also do not understand their own proposed gas pipeline and its possible effects on the environment and our community.
This proposed pipeline is to be 300 miles long, containing 42-inch pipes, buried underground, with a coverage of at least 3-4 feet. The easement right-of-way would be between 75 and 300 feet. This space cannot have heavy equipment, building structures or rooted vegetation. That is an incredible amount of disruption.
When constructing this pipeline, who would you imagine will oversee the project, and ensure the welding of these massive pipes is done correctly? An independent inspector? Nope. The company has its own inspector.
Also, every 70 miles, a transfer station is necessary, to regulate the pressure of the gas pumping through. These transfer stations will require a 40-acre area. Are you kidding?
I know everyone is concerned about the populated neighborhoods, as we should be. But, I’m also concerned about our beautiful pastureland that is home to our wildlife, our animals and the food we rely on.
When asked about the impact of a leaky pipe, the potential for explosions and fires, the representatives said shut-off valves would automatically close a section of pipe within approximately 15 minutes of detecting a leak. These shut-off valves are placed between seven and 70 miles apart. All of the gas in the sealed section of the pipeline would empty. If it’s burning, it would all have to burn off — you cannot put out a gas fire; it has to burn out.
Even though they are the professionals, when asked about the magnitude of an explosion, they couldn’t answer that question. Really? That isn’t part of your beginning analytical process to determine potential risk vs. benefit?
Though the opposing turnout was appreciated, I would imagine thousands more to be concerned about this.
Please, stay informed. Come to the meetings. Write letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, because FERC is who will ultimately make the determination.
This company is one of three that would like to run a pipeline through Virginia, though this company’s pipeline is the largest. Our board of supervisors asked, “Why not use one of the two existing gas pipelines?” Why not? Are they no longer safe? Are they too expensive to repair and maintain, like our other infrastructure: bridges, roads, power grid? [The two existing pipelines are the East Tennessee Natural Gas line and the Columbia Gas pipeline.]
Is this what we could come to realize about this proposed massive pipeline — that it, too, would become outdated or undesirable? Well, it already is undesirable.
Focus instead on sustainable renewable sources of energy.