Industries Energy/Green

Friends of Nelson to produce its own study on economic impact of pipeline.

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Friends of Nelson, a group opposed to a proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline that would run through Nelson County for about 35 miles, plans to produce its own economic impact study on the project.

“Dominion’s latest effort, a report entitled ‘The Economic Impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,’ fails to be a credible and comprehensive analysis of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline impacts on market area natural gas and electric prices, as well as the impacts on regional economies,” the group said in a press release.

Dominion, along with three other energy companies, has proposed the $5 billion pipeline project, contending that it is critical to getting competitively priced natural gas to Southeastern markets.

Earlier this month, Dominion released a report that it commissioned, which said the pipeline could save consumers and businesses $377 million annually in energy costs. In addition, the Virginia-based consulting firm of ICF International said that Virginia and North Carolina electricity consumers would benefit because the lower cost of natural gas to fuel power generation would result in lower electricity bills.

The project has drawn support from Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other public officials as a creator of jobs and economic development.

Friends of Nelson says the report focuses on only one side of the balance sheet. “The economic and social costs to communities of construction, monitoring and maintenance, including the effect of natural gas exports on domestic gas prices, which are real costs, are neither acknowledged nor addressed in the report,” Ernie Reed, of Friends of Nelson, said in a statement.

According to the group, Dominion’s report did not address an array of losses, which could come from building the massive pipeline. It listed things such as loss of property values to landowners, the loss of natural scenic value, the costs to water, soil and personal property in the event of an explosion or accident, the costs of repairing roads damaged by heavy truck traffic during construction and the loss of property rights through possible exercise of eminent domain should the project win approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Friends of Nelson said its report would focus on the economic and socioeconomic costs to Nelson County on the construction, maintenance, operation and monitoring of the pipeline.

“The economy of Nelson County is based on tourism, agriculture, recreation and the scenic beauty of the Rockfish Valley.   These and so much more are threated by the proposed pipeline,” said Joanna Salidis, the group’s president.

Nelson County landowners and supporters will finance the report, which is expected to be complete in May.

Dominion continued to see resistance to the project on another front Monday when protestors that were part of a “Richmond People’s Climate March” disrupted traffic near Dominion’s corporate headquarters in downtown Richmond. The march began at about 7 a.m. at the Capitol Bell Tower, and demonstrators headed to Second and Tredegar Streets, where they blocked traffic. When some of the protestors refused to move away from the street, police arrested one of them for disorderly conduct.

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