Both sides to weigh in on pipeline

MARLINTON – Supporters of a proposed natural gas pipeline and protestors against the project both will have the chance to make their case Tuesday in Pocahontas County.

Robert C. Orndorff, Dominion Transmission’s managing director of state and local government affairs, is scheduled to address the Pocahontas County Commission at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday regarding the Southeast Reliability Project.

Dominion’s proposed project includes building approximately 550 miles of 42-inch natural gas pipeline running from Harrison County to North Carolina. The pipeline, as currently proposed, would traverse areas of Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties, including portions of the Monongahela National Forest.

On its website, Dominion says the company has not yet decided to build the project, and a final route for the pipeline has not been selected. Dominion acknowledges that survey work is being done and that information is being obtained from landowners along the path to determine the best route with the least impacts to the environment and historic and cultural resources.

Dominion has indicated it will be speaking to governmental bodies in all of the areas along the pipeline’s route during August and September.

Before the County Commission meeting, pipeline opponents have scheduled a press conference and announcement for 2 p.m. at the Greenbrier Grill.

Representatives from Wilderness Lovers vs. Proposed Pipeline, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the Clean Air Council and the Wetzel County Action Group will be participating.

According to an event announcement from Laura Ragland, spokesperson for the Wilderness Lovers vs. Proposed Pipeline group, the focus will be on stopping the pipeline in Pocahontas County, including a special announcement.

Ragland and others made a presentation to the Randolph County Commission in opposition to the pipeline project earlier this month, detailing environmental issues such as increased truck traffic during the construction phase, and damage to streambeds and water quality from blasting and soil run-off.

They also warned of various forms of pollution they said the project would bring, including noise from the many compressor stations that will be built to push the natural gas over the rugged terrain, air and water pollution from system leaks and damage to ecologically or historically sensitive areas.