Controversy brews over natural gas pipeline - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Controversy brews over natural gas pipeline

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) -

There is mixed reaction over Governor Terry McAuliffe's announcement that a natural gas pipeline is coming to the Commonwealth. The project - spearheaded by Dominion Power - is expected to bring more than 8,000 jobs to Virginia. But there are environmental concerns being raised.

The natural gas pipeline would run through nine Virginia counties. Dinwiddie is one of them.

"Dinwiddie County looks forward to working with Dominion Resources and AGL Resources to discuss the benefits of providing enhances natural gas infrastructure. Without a doubt, natural gas is a key source of energy for new and existing economic development projects," Dinwiddie County administrator W. Kevin Massengill said.

"The construction and permitting phase alone will generate $1.4 billion of economic activity in Virginia and create 8,800 jobs in the Commonwealth of Virginia," McAuliffe said to a crowd of cheering supporters.

Tuesday he unveiled details of a new 550-mile natural gas pipeline expected to boost business.

"Virginia's present lack of adequate natural gas supplies is a significant liability when it comes to attracting large scale manufacturing plants and facilities," he said.

McAuliffe says it would also translate into more affordable heating and cooling prices for consumers, as well as cleaner air. But not everyone is cheering.

"Natural gas is not a panacea," Glen Besa of the Sierra Club said.

He is concerned about the environmental impact.

"When you frack gas, you release a lot of methane so natural gas could be as bad as coal in terms of its impact on the climate and were really concerned about climate change," Besa said.

He adds folks are also worried about eminent domain.

"We will work closely with landowners and other stakeholders to find the best possible route. One that minimizes the impact on natural, cultural and historic resources but still meets our operational needs," Thomas Farrell with Dominion Power said.

As the process moves along, organizers will have to go through a rigorous process when it comes to obtaining federal permits. They hope to have the entire project complete within four years.

"It is our understanding that Dominion intends to hold a series of public information meetings throughout the proposed pipeline location once identified. This will allow Dinwiddie citizens and other stakeholders an opportunity to voice their opinion about this project and its specific location," Massengill added.

The project is a partnership between four major U.S. energy companies that will invest $5 billion to run the pipeline through Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

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