Proponents see Atlantic Coast Pipeline helping Nelson grow


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Proponents see Atlantic Coast Pipeline helping Nelson grow

Nelson County Times

As of January, nearly 80 percent of the 171 landowners affected by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC in Nelson County have signed easement agreements, giving Dominion Energy permission to build the pipeline through the portion of their property the easement agreement addresses.

Carlton Ballowe, who has been a supporter of the pipeline from the beginning, has signed two easement agreements for different parcels of land. Ballowe said he generally is pro-progress and doesn’t believe you can resist the growing, expanding world.

“To unnecessarily increase the cost of energy is to lower the standard of living,” Ballowe said.

While the easement agreements don’t necessarily mean the landowners agree with the plan, Nelson County proponents and opponents of the natural gas pipeline have at least one thing in common: Both sides are concerned with the future of Nelson County.

Nelson County residents James Robinson and David Hight said they are eager to support future generations, which is something they believe the ACP will do.

“I have two sons and five grandchildren,” Hight, a retired civil engineer, said. “I am thinking of their future.”

In a separate interview, Robinson said the ACP wasn’t for his generation or even the current generation.

“It’s for your kids’ generation,” Robinson said. “If our fathers or grandfathers hadn’t put in the original pipeline, things would be very different.”

Proponents point to the pipeline saying it will bring jobs to younger generations and create revenue to ensure the county continues.

Robinson said residents want people to stay in the county, but young people are leaving due to a lack of jobs. Robinson said the county is what people call a “bedroom community,” meaning people sleep there, but work elsewhere. To him, the ACP would be providing people with jobs.

“I have friends that work on pipelines and that’s how they make a living,” Robinson said.

According to Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s website, “the pipeline construction alone is creating 17,000 new jobs and $2.7 billion alone in economic activity across the region.”

Hight, who spent close to 30 years working on infrastructure, said he believes decisions of infrastructure should be left to the federal government alone.

“I believe local people are making decisions based on emotion, not on law. They may have a law allowing them to do this, but in my mind it should be usurped by the powers of the federal government given in the United States Constitution,” Hight said.

Robinson said he hopes the pipeline will be built in Virginia so it can help to expand Nelson County.

“The more we have to offer, the more we can give. The more we can give, the more we can have people stay home in Nelson County,” Robinson said.

Karl Neddenien, spokesperson for Dominion Energy, said the company has done what it can to work with Nelson County residents to make everyone feel as safe and secure as possible.

“In the last three years we have made many changes in the pipeline route to try and minimize the impact on individuals and their property. We studied more than 600 miles of routes before choosing this 600-mile route,” Neddenien said on Jan. 4.

Neddenien said the ACP will serve millions of Virginians and North Carolinians and make up for areas where demands are not being met during peak seasons.

“The pipeline is serving regions unable to meet those demands. In some cases businesses had to be closed down so natural gas could flow to homes to keep people warm. This is where the Atlantic Coast Pipeline comes into play,” Neddenien said.

Ballowe said he supports the pipeline for the bigger picture impact it will have and not necessarily the impact on the county specifically, but he doesn’t believe it will have a detrimental impact overall.

“The tax revenue that comes from it can be used to improve everyone’s lives,” Ballowe said.

Read the full article and more in the Nelson County Times.

Community | Landowners