The Dominion/Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The Nature Foundation held an informational meeting on the Dominion/Atlantic Coast pipeline September 2014 at the Trillium House. Communication with members and an interview with Channel 29 followed. For those who missed the September meeting and the Channel 29 interview, the statement below restates the position of The Nature Foundation. For current updates on the Dominion Pipeline at Wintergreen, go to Friends of Wintergreen website:
- The main line Blue Ridge reaches its narrowest point from Wintergreen north into Shenandoah National Park. The pipeline creates another unbroken east-west fragmentation corridor in a band of ancient forest.
- The corridor of old forest is critical for the seasonal migration/drift movement of wildlife - from large mammals to nesting wood warblers - and even amphibian populations - as they make their unrestricted movements along the narrow mountain range.
- The pipeline fragments 4,000 year-old plant ecosystems on the old forest floor.
- The National Park Service may restrict the line to tunneling beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway as it narrows 300 ft. right-of-way. This leaves a 300 ft. corridor northeast and southwest with a road down the center. The construction fragments a critical habitat, with open canopied right-of-way, east and west of the tunneled area.
- Rural Nelson County has many colonial heritage sites. In some cases, the descendants of the original patentees still reside on the farms the pipeline traverses.
- Rural Nelson County's high percentage of un-fragmented forest areas are still at risk. These areas support wetlands and woodlands with species reaching north, south, or western range limits.
In addition to environmental reasons, some have given other pragmatic reasons to reject the pipeline.
- The decline of property values: Utility easements lower tax appraisals and therefore both county revenue and resale appraisals for the owner. Example: If a family farm is worth $X million and is appraised at 20% less, both the county (tax revenues) and the owner (less value) bear current and future burdens.
- One proposed route crosses the most populated residential and business sections of Nelson County - Wintergreen and Rockfish Valley. Many homeowners and businesses will be affected.
The Nelson County Board of Supervisors asked Dominion and The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider existing utility and highway right-of-ways for the pipeline. The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen supports this recommendation.
In addition to local community and county representatives that you may already be aware of, the following websites are offered to voice concerns: