Proposed mountain valley pipeline might spur jobs — but at what cost news newsadvance.com tgas advisors company profile

##

She spoke Sept. 14 to a crowd of about 200 people at the Floyd EcoVillage. The audience had gathered for the premier showing of “To the Last Drop,” an independent documentary about Floyd County’s unique surface water and groundwater resources — which the documentary suggests are vulnerable to disturbance and contamination.

The eclectic crowd reflected Floyd County’s longstanding diversity of lifestyles. Intentional communities and organic farms abut multi-generational farms. Tie-dyed young people often mingle on Friday nights with old time mountain musicians in worn overalls.

As proposed as a joint venture by EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy, the buried Mountain Valley Pipeline would transport natural gas from West Virginia through several regional counties before terminating at another pipeline company’s compressor station in Pittsylvania County.

“Our project will have significant economic benefits on communities throughout Southwest and Southside Virginia, including job creation, increased tax revenue for local governments and expanded access to affordable natural gas supplies,” Cox wrote in an email.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently touted the projected economic benefits of another natural gas pipeline proposed for a different region of the state by Dominion, Duke Energy and other partners. The numbers cited by the governor for the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline came from a study paid for by Dominion.

In addition, Larrowe said, the county has hooked its administration building to the distribution line and converted Carroll County High School from coal to natural gas. The administration building’s conversion from fuel oil to natural gas will save more than $40,000 a year, he said.

“We have nothing to suggest any potential positives to Floyd County at this point from the Mountain Valley Pipeline as the apparent route area is well north and east of the town [of Floyd],” Martin said. “Most businesses and the county’s business parks are clustered in and around town.”

Mark and Natasha Laity-Snyder live in Franklin County, roughly halfway between the towns of Ferrum and Henry. Mark Laity-Snyder said the couple received a phone call in July and a follow-up letter requesting access to their land to survey the property as a possible route for the pipeline.

In September 2008, a Transco natural gas pipeline ruptured in Appomattox County, “resulting in five injuries, the evacuation of 23 families and the destruction of two homes,” according to an investigation by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The rupture and subsequent fire were linked to pipeline corrosion.

The PHMSA suggests that pipelines are “the safest, most environmentally friendly and most efficient and reliable mode of transportation for gas and hazardous liquids.” The agency acknowledges, however, that “pipeline accidents still happen, sometimes with tragic consequences.”

Seth Phelps and his family own and operate a farm and pottery business near Check. He said the family was asked for permission to access their land for pipeline-related surveying. The family refused and was told later that their land was no longer being considered for a route.

Meanwhile, Robbins said people opposed to the pipeline are encouraged to come to the town of Floyd on Friday nights between now and the Oct. 28 public meeting to create placards for the anticipated protest that night. The meeting of officials from Mountain Valley Pipeline and the board of supervisors is scheduled to occur at 7 p.m. at the Floyd County High School auditorium.