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Louis St. Meyers FL Martin, Jr. Harold L. From cooks, to guides, to people tending the land, he employs around people throughout the year. Now, with threat of the pipeline crossing his scenic forested property in three different locations, and breaking up the land with two permanent access roads, he fears he may be shutting down for as long as two years. He also worries about what happens after construction.
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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is proposed to cross the river, which means there is likely to be blasting in and around the river, raising serious environmental concerns about the permanent damage to this important waterway in Virginia. Building an interstate pipeline requires more than just a single tube.
With pipeline construction comes large compressor stations along its route. These massive structures work to maintain natural gas pressure as it moves through the pipeline, putting out large amounts of methane and other air-polluting toxins in the process. Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers slated construction of large compressor stations in predominantly African-American communities in both Virginia and North Carolina. Blow downs are part of maintaining pressure in the pipeline and result in the station spewing toxins into the air that are harmful to the health of nearby residents.
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Laury laments not just his proximity to this proposed station but also that of his neighbors, who are even closer. Just 1, feet from the proposed site for the station lives Cora Perkins, a direct descendant of Caesar Perkins, one of the most well-known early settlers of Union Hill after emancipation. The Friends of Buckingham interviewed Perkins, as well as several other members of the community, about the proposed pipeline and compressor station.
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An elderly woman, Cora Perkins worries about the health implications of living so close to a station that emits high levels of air pollution. Many in the community worry about health issues that come with a compressor station, but are also troubled by the seizure of personal property by Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers. But the land seizure in Union Hill goes far beyond the personal property rights of its residents.
The compressor station itself is slated to be built on the property of a former plantation; and the area contains numerous historically significant buildings and churches that were constructed by African Americans following emancipation. Yet in its final assessment of the route of the ACP project, FERC made no mention of the historical and cultural significance of the 68 acres Dominion Energy is planning to take to build its compressor station.
In recent years land ownership by African-American families in eastern North Carolina has been under pressure as families with limited resources struggle to hold on to their farmland. But none of that has protected them from being placed among those citizens whose heritage would be lost for the sake of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The proposed pipeline route would bisect the farm. Nevertheless, Valerie Williams says, her family has no intention of letting the pipeline through their land. This land is part of our family history, part of our tradition. What they are trying to do is not right. We will keep our land. We have no intentions of allowing industrialization on our land. But there are tens of thousands of people who will see their monthly bills go up to pay for a pipeline that, based on objective estimates of current market demand, appears to benefit only the pockets of Dominion and Duke Energy and their shareholders.
But the agencies have not yet even committed to reviewing how the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could harm drinking water supplies for numerous communities in its path. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline shines a spotlight on how developers and public utilities use their influence to fast-track natural gas pipeline projects when there is neither a public need for increased natural gas production nor a public benefit from providing it. What happens next will reveal how committed state and federal officials are to putting the public good over corporate gain.