Info, please: Buckhannon seeking pipeline details

An editorial from The Inter-Mountain         

ELKINS, W.Va. — Buckhannon city officials are tired of waiting patiently.

They still have not received specific information from Dominion regarding how the company plans to engineer, construct and protect the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s local source water crossings.

As a result, officials plan to submit a letter of concern to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC is conducting an Environmental Impact Study on the proposed pipeline. Dominion is seeking a Certificate of Public Necessity in order to construct the 550-mile pipeline across three states, including through private property by way of eminent domain.

City Engineer Jay Hollen has been seeking information on the precise methods the company plans to use to cross the Buckhannon river and other streams. Though he has been requesting this information since December, he said he still hasn’t received it as of this week.

The letter, which Hollen plans to submit, is not in support of or against the pipeline. It only states concerns regarding river and stream crossings.

Hollen has voiced concerns to Dominion on numerous occasions and requested specific information such as plan and profile sheets, details, specifications, casing pipe information and other information for the city to review.

Such information has yet to be provided, even in meetings with Dominion officials held as late as April 6. During that meeting, Robert Orndorff, Dominion’s senior policy advisor for state and local affairs, told officials because the exact route of the pipeline hasn’t been determined, engineering and design of river and stream crossings have not yet been completed.

In a draft of the letter to the Commission Hollen stated he found it “hard to believe” a project of such magnitude, which is ready to be submitted in three months, does not have engineering and design completed for river and stream crossings.

In addition to stating the city’s concerns, the letter asks that the city become an intervenor in Commission proceedings. This will allow the city to play a more formal role in the pipeline, including the ability to file briefs, appear at hearings and be heard in court if the need arises.

The pipeline will cross the Buckhannon River and eight streams, all of which are the county’s only source of raw water, according to Hollen.

In addition to crossing the river between Hampton and Sago, the pipeline would cross Cutright Run, an unnamed tributary of French Creek, French Creek, an unnamed tributary of Trubie Run, an unnamed tributary of the Buckhannon River, Grassy Run, Gravel Run and Laurel Run.

All of these streams ultimately converge at various points along the Buckhannon River, Hollen said.

We urge Dominion to communicate with Buckhannon city officials. The pipeline project could have a tremendous impact on the area, and city officials have a right to know what’s being planned.

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