On the Pipeline
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an important utility project that has failed to include an important ingredient since its conception: constituent representation by the elected state legislature.
The concern about the route has burdened landowners and conservation groups that argue that a much less intrusive route already exists and can be shared with Columbia gas. There are less invasive paths through the much revered public lands and historical sites. If there had been real representation from elected state officials for the landowners, then this distrust of public policy with the gas line would not exist.
Delegate Steve Landes said at a town hall meeting in Weyers Cave last January, “The areas I actually represent are not impacted [and] there’s limitation to what we can do.” He added, “They’re not taking your land, they’re basically renting your land.”
I can understand the frustration of landowners with an unwanted, uninvited guest that wrecks their place and doesn’t leave. The issues for them are real loss of property value and land they invested their lives in. They don’t believe they are fairly compensated for their losses.
Public lands and conservation efforts are something I am very familiar with. I work on an authority that grants easements and contributes to Albemarle County’s future with pristine rural lands and farms. There are many people who have worked hard to see that the lands are protected and sustained for the future. Albemarle County can appreciate that the “Not in Our Back Yard” saying means the entire public lands, farms and rural countryside be given full respect.
The best plan should be devised by all parties at stake. Not just the powerful utility company and the elected officials who secretly negotiate, but also the people who live here, the residents and landowners who honor and respect the heritage, land and the future of Virginia.
Candidate for the House of Delegates in the 25th District