Carpetbaggers have come to town and, just like always, they want what we have and they believe they have a right to take it and that we should sit back and allow them to have it.

The carpetbaggers this time are EQT/NextEra Energy, who propose to build the 300-mile 42-inch high-pressure Mountain Valley Pipeline that would travel through West Virginia and cross into Virginia through Giles County.

The pipeline would then travel through Montgomery, Roanoke and Franklin counties before connecting with the Transco transmission pipeline in Pittsylvania County.

Contrary to what some people believe, this gas would not be available for use in Southwest Virginia without some industry or government entity investing millions of dollars to install taps and distribution lines.

I have attended several meetings where representatives from these two companies attempt to answer questions about this project. The answer we have heard again and again from EQT/NextEra Energy representatives is: “If we break it, we fix it.”

My question and the question we should all be asking is: How do you fix our quality of life after you have destroyed our natural beauty and resources, contaminated our water and raped our land? Money can’t fix everything — our sense of safety and well being will be forever in jeopardy.

When asked about provisions for the safety of cattle on a farm while the pipeline is being constructed, the answer given was “we’ll pay to move your cattle.” My question is: Where will they move them — to someone else’s farm?

When asked about damage to wells, the answer is always, “We’ll pay to fix it.” Water is hard to come by in rural areas; we don’t have access to municipal water. How can they fix springs and wells after they are contaminated?

As for the handful of people who think this pipeline is a good idea, let’s let the proposed route cross their property and come within one-half mile of their elementary school. Let’s let their homes sit within the 2,000-foot blast zone in the event of an explosion.

Somehow, I believe they would change the tune they are singing from support to opposition.

What can we do to send the companies packing? Some people would have us believe that this is a done deal, but it isn’t. Stand up for your property rights and the rights of your neighbors. Don’t let this company’s agents intimidate you.

Post your property with “No Trespassing” signs, refuse to let them on your land to survey, attend meetings, write letters to elected officials and to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and speak out to your friends and neighbors, even when they are tired of hearing you talk about this issue.

The power we have is in our resolve to stop this desecration of our land and way of life.

Jean Link Porterfield lives in Newport on a farm that has been in the Porterfield family for more than 200 years. The proposed route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline transects it.