MARLINTON, W.Va. — Opposition has mounted to plans by a number of companies to create a pipeline to stretch from Harrison County in West Virginia into North Carolina. The most recent plan for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline takes the route through Pocahontas County. Lauren Ragland said that plan is unacceptable.

“This idea has never, ever been done before,” she said. “There is no science behind this, there’s no track record, and there’s no laws. People of this area should be incredibly aware of that.”

Ragland leads a group she formed called West Virginia Wilderness Lovers Versus Proposed Pipelines. She said grassroots groups like hers are popping up in counties all along the proposed route from Clarksburg to the Carolinas. She added they are joining forces in an alliance to challenge the proposed pipeline route.

“The idea of going through two National Forests and going through the most pristine area left of West Virginia and Virginia is horrific,” she said.

Ragland, and many like her, have a laundry list of safety concerns about the project. She said for starters the area is very remote and any emergency would automatically have a lengthy response. She fears late arrival to a pipeline problem would be dangerous to anybody nearby. She said they have air quality concerns armed with data that each pump station along the line would have a nine-percent discharge from every valve.

Ragland has further concerns about the impact not only to air quality, but the water sources which represent the drinking water sources for a sizeable number of people in the eastern United States.

“Any leaks, any fires, any problem would damage the headwaters of eight rivers going from Morgantown to Charleston,” Ragland said. “It’s a very, very poor choice of a location.”

She said the proposal is a 42-inch line, which is bigger than the Keystone XL Pipeline proposed from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico through the Great Plains. Convention pipelines, some of which run through the National Forest already, are 18 to 24 inches.

“Nobody is against natural gas. We’re not, but we are pro-safety,” Ragland explained. “If you look at this project it violates so many laws it can’t possibly be the best idea. They need to have the route go a different way through a right-of-way that one of these gas companies already has.”

She promised to be vocal and vigilant in their concerns as development moved forward.

“We are going to demand a risk assessment,” said Ragland. “If this is such a grand idea to put a transmission pipeline\ through the Allegheny Mountains, going through the National Forest and ruining our trout streams, hunting, fishing, hiking and very possibly our water supply and our air, then they need to show us how safe it’s going to be.”

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  • FungoJoe

    Not In My Backyard say the wacko leftist enviro nazis. Just like in Kanawha State Forest. The leftists want control over other people's property and how they use that property. Socialism is upon us.

  • Jeff

    Ha so many industry spokesmen on this site. Don't worry guys there will be PLENTY of opposition between the 3 states, the project was just announced.

    To those so concerned about "getting this done" call up Dominion and offer your land for the right of way. Should speed up the process

    • Matt Miller

      No reason that the public shouldnt watch it closely and make sure things are done correctly. If done right, this isnt a problem. But there are bad actors in the Oil and Gas Industry the same as there are in every other walk of life.... so keep your eyes on them.

      But just flatly opposing it based on nonsense like the lady in this story is doing is not something that can be taken seriously.

  • PC dude

    One other thing!
    Very disappointed in metronews giving credibility to this group.

    • Hop'sHip

      I don't think the intent was to give credibility to this group. Read the comments and I think you will understand the intent. They know their audience.

      • GregG

        My thoughts exactly Hop'sHip. This is a tactic regularly used by Metro News and numerous other media outlets. It is their way of stirring the.........without getting any on themselves. I find it rather humorous.

        • Aaron

          Doesn't that happen at most media sites that allow comments. I recall when the Charleston Gazette had an online forum and used a pretty liberal moderator to try and squelch the conservative voice. The problem for liberals in West Virginia is that there are so few of you as ~11% identify as extremely liberal.

          What I don't get is why a liberal would come to this site, read the articles and then cry over the comments from conservative posters. It makes absolutely no sense but I do find it amusing.

  • Shadow

    The "Sky is Falling" group is at it again with platitudes and misinformation. But, that is their style.

  • PC dude

    Also please note that Ragland is not from Pocahontas Co.
    The pipeline will not ruin any of the things she mentions. Glad most of you see thru her lies and ignorance. Also her group is very small and includes the same folks that fight everything here.
    Ironically also is that tourism depends on a good economy elsewhere. They are our visitors and I see them here everyday.
    And don't think there won't be a local economic boost from pipeline construction. If you spend several million dollars in an area and have workers there it will boost your economy. And there will be job opportunities for locals. If you can operate equipment or drive a dump truck you can get some of those jobs.
    One of our great attractions here is The Greenbrier River Trail. Can you believe over 100 years ago they had the audacity to ruin our pretty river with a utility right of way beside it for 80 miles. These folks would have sh** their pants back then. Similarly, cut ski slopes into beautiful Cheat Mt. What were we thinking? Lol
    The hypocrisy of these kooks is laughable!!

  • Hillbilly

    Did you ever hear of Tar and Feather the na-sayers .

  • ViennaGuy

    Someone needs to tell Laura Ragland that there are indeed laws - federal laws - for pipeline regulation. Her claim that "there's no science, this has never been done before, there are no laws" is ridiculous, nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to something she doesn't like.

    • thornton

      By the nature of this Project, it will be well the eyes of those tasked with oversight and the Public.

      Not all pipeline projects are or were well monitored across the US...anecdotes of problems seldom stand a close look re good comparisons.
      I reckon that more than "state" regulators will be on hand through the NF.

      Headwater concerns are legitimate....but, simply put, cool heads need to be in at all phases of the Project.
      Leave the Agendas to those needing a focus upon themselves.

    • Matt Miller

      Not only something that she doesn't like, but something that she very clearly doesn't understand.

      There is no shame in ignorance, until you decide to launch a crusade based on your ignorance.

  • Art in Ohio

    America has built pipelines for over 100 years. I believe we can do this. We should know how to do this by now.

    • wvangler

      Dozens of pipeline developers have mounted hundreds of thousands of dollars in environmental fines in the US in the past decade for shoddy stewardship work. Pipeline construction in places like Oregon have had dramatically damaging impacts to streams. Pipeline breaks in states across the US have resulted in significant damage and a common theme of little to no cooperation with state regulators. There is significant damage that could occur here, particularly to our sensitive native brook trout streams. Some places are too special to plow through. We need to ensure that our most wild and wonderful places are protected in our effort to improve gas infrastructure.

      • Hop'sHip


      • VIennaGuy

        - Pipeline breaks in states across the US have resulted in significant damage and a common theme of little to no cooperation with state regulators. -

        Pipelines are regulated by the federal government, not state governments.

        • Matt Miller

          Interstate pipelines are regulated federally.

          Gathering systems that do not cross state lines are under the jurisdiction of the state.

          • Matt Miller

            Yes, this is very much an interstate pipeline, to be regulated by FERC...and FERC certainly has intense regulations.

            I only pointed out that some pipelines are not federal in regard to the comment about failures and state governments.

            And it certainly can be the case that very old pipelines that are under state jurisdiction may not be in great condition or watched very closely....
            ...but new pipelines, especially those to be built going forward, are monitored extremely closely.

          • ViennaGuy

            According to the article, this will be an interstate pipeline system going from West Virginia to North Caroline, right?

      • The bookman

        In viewing the path, the watersheds potentially impacted are the Buckhannon, Tygart, Shaver's Fork, East and West Fork of the Greenbrier. I live on the Shaver's, and am curious as to the potential impacts on these streams. Could you be specific?

        • wvangler

          The sedimentation from construction, water useage, hydrology impacts all have impact on the streams. Some of these can be long term. Do we know yet if there will be ancillary pipelines within the MNF linking to this line in the future allowing for increased gas exploration on our public lands? Currently, bills are in Congress to eviscerate NEPA, ESA and other important protections, what will come of public lands in this political trajectory? I understand there are a gamut of comprehensive impacts that can be realized on headwater streams if care is not taken. FERC rarely denies a pipeline permit. They may ask developers to nuance certain aspects, but the idea that if FERC approves it, then it will be done perfectly and happy elves will frolic about riding rainbow colored unicorns is incorrect and posturing. I don't know why everyone has to be "all in" on these things. "Support coal unconditionally or sit in the dark." "Support this pipeline unconditionally or, or, be a stupid person." My argument is that there are risks involved and we must work toward best case circumstances (conditions) that us as individuals can influence. We should not have blind trust that its all going to be done perfectly and without impacts just because it seems the politically motivated thing to say. That's seems incredibly naive and unscientific to me. Let's use evidence based ecology and let science be our guide concerning how to protect watersheds.

          • The bookman

            The streams I mention are fairly large at the points at which they intersect the proposed pipeline. The pipeline is also running in a SE direction whereas these streams largely run perpendicular, not parallel to the pipeline, or US 250. Care should always be taken, whether it is the pristine Red Spruce habitat above 4000' or some abandoned farm overgrown with multi floral rose. ATV's create more sedimentation in our rivers and streams than would a federally regulated pipe line. Careful? Yes. Protective? Yes. Obstructive? That is what Ragland is proposing.

            Is there a better route, with fewer impacts through the plateau to the piedmont? I'm not sure there is, but I'd love to hear your suggestion.

  • thornton

    Fluids, of course, can be associated with natural gas pipeline systems and accidents are not impossible, by leak or explosion.
    But, the upsides to us all from the standpoints of economic, habitat improvement and more trumps the aluminum foil upon the head of the....silly lass.

    The NF certainly does need a good roto-rooting for age-class diversity and health to kick in.
    Sunshine and edge are good things for all species.
    A pipeline can help there...a tad.
    Here again tho, arrives the downsides... one being the likelihood for bush honeysuckle invasion.
    Be nice to see a greater focus placed in the reclamation phase as to invasive species follow-up....neither fescue nor deer turnips would be wise plantings.

    The problem with both sides of any pipeline project is that the disparate teams seldom think wide enough or far enough past their own agenda.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Once the pipeline is established, just how many permanent, good-paying jobs will this create? Seems to me such jobs would be on the front end of the project with very few actually being created here in the long term for West Virginians.

    I think more info should be forthcoming by the gas industry (and not their armchair shills or apologists) before either side draws conclusions about project viability or economic and environmental impact for West Virginians.

    Hopefully, it will be more than a ten-second, glitzy, feed-the-mushrooms-with-bovine-skatology media spot masquerading as "transparency".

    • Build It

      The permanent jobs that will be created are in the gas fields all over central and northern WV. Currently there are few ways to get the gas delivered to market.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        But how many permanent, non-convenient store jobs are there? Or is that the murky "spinoff" projection which we have fallen for in the past? What is your source of information? Is it reliable?

        I am no expert, but it seems that once a pipeline is established, very little in terms of employment will remain.

        Just looking down the road.

      • Matt Miller

        This pipeline would open new markets to for the natural gas produced here. At this point, the price that we could garner for gas from the South is higher than what we can get from the Northeast, for reasons including the glut of gas produced in PA that has flooded the northeast.

        Even while increasing supply to the south would push that price down some, it should be a net gain to the value of the gas produced here in WV... and should even push up the price of gas not going into that pipeline to some extent. This makes more of the natural gas reserves in the area economic to develop, which means more investment to develop more areas of the state's natural gas field.

        While I dont know what the net increase will be in jobs directly attributable to this pipeline project would be, it will be some positive number.

        It is my understanding that areas in the Carolinas are wanting to shift from the onerously regulated coal power plants to natural gas power plants.... but there is only one major line bringing gas into the area and so they need a second source to protect them in the event that there was a supply stoppage in one line or the other.
        ...and the building of Gas Power Plants down there connected directly to Central WV for their supply will help keep up demand for gas produced here.

        • Matt Miller

          "Every year, Duke Energy submits a plan to state regulators, showing how it will continue to supply power to the Carolinas over the next 15 years."

          "The company plans to build another eight natural gas plants from 2015 to 2029. And that’s because natural gas is cheap, and Duke projects that it will stay that way. So, they’re investing in it, and it’s becoming a replacement especially for coal. In 2029, Duke expects to have six coal plants left in the state."

        • The bookman

          Another positive to the project is that a 70 mile line split at the NC/VA border will run east to also supply NG to the port region of Norfolk. For this reason, Governor McAuliffe has thrown his support behind the project.

    • The bookman

      Without the infrastructure to deliver NG to markets that can consume it, extraction of the commodity has no value. When figuring the impact of this project, one must consider that the economic impact isn't measured by the jobs directly related to the construction and maintenance of the pipeline, but the overall number of jobs required to fill it with NG. Add in the severance to the treasury as well and I think you can agree this is a great project for all of WV, and projects like this are critical to the further development of the industry.

      • RTB

        What severance tax? I didn't know WV had a NG severance tax. My understanding is that the law makers can't make a decision on the severance tax. So we haven't received a severance tax since this boom has started. If true what a shame.

        • Ricky

          West Virginia is one of the few states that made laws regarding NG when fracking came here to let the industry have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do.

          The law was passed at least 2 sessions ago but maybe even 3, I can't remember.

        • The bookman

          Our severance is 5% at the point of extraction, and without it, we would have been well short of revenue. Given the declining revenues from coal, gas severance has kept us somewhat close.

  • unbelievable

    Please build this pipeline. Provide jobs for the local economies of this struggling state. You will never, ever be able to appease people like this lady. Build it, it's a small nitch in the forest in places never visited by 99.9% of the world.

  • Alum

    Ms. Ragland brings up issues that may or may not be legitimate. I am curious though, does she have any alternative proposals? It's very easy to sit back and be critical of most anything but it is hard work and requires thought to propose alternative solutions. I don't see any alternative solutions proposed here, other than 'don't build it' coupled with emotional hand wringing.

    She also fails to mention that an environmental impact statement has to be performed for a project like this and that study reviews and assesses a good bit of what she points out.

    I suspect that this is nothing more than static to stop the project. Many pipelines have been previously built. Ms. Ragland should do a little more research into pipelines rather than try to manipulate people's emotions.

    Here's a question I have for Ms. Ragland on a somewhat related note: are you as concerned with wind turbines as you are this pipeline? Permanent roads are built to service the turbines and many have been built directly in the migratory paths of birds protected by international treaty, such as the Golden Eagle. The turbines also have a significant failure/fire rate.

    • Barry Bledsoe

      I have three questions to add:
      1. Where does she get her "science" to back up her claims.

      2. How does she figure that cutting a swath of trees, probably less than 100 yards wide, is a "horrific" action?

      3. How does she think that saving these trees is more important than improving the lives of the people who will benefit, via the jobs provided?

  • The bookman

    Through the National Forest in WV, the pipeline largely follows the US 250 corridor. It also is a gas, so I'm not sure what Miss Ragland means by "spill" polluting the headwaters.

    But from her comment that no one is against NG, I realized she wasn't being truthful with her statements, as the environmental lobby is very focussed on obstructing NG. Check any website attached to them.

    If Terry McAuliffe can support the project, and recognizes the positive economic impact on Virginia, maybe cooler heads can prevail.

    • Brian

      Interesting!! If it follows 250, it will cross a fraction of Pocahontas County. This lady leads everyone to believe the entire county would be contaminated. It would also destroy her argument regarding access to the line. Ms. Ragland, if you want to be taken seriously, please present an honest argument.

      They don't want coal mines, gas wells or windmills. Turn their power of for a few weeks and then ask how they feel about energy sources.

  • David

    Who is funding Ragland and the rest of the communists with her?
    Please provide this information
    What laws are already being broken or will be broken ?
    When did her group start?
    What are the other groups involved?
    What is the background of Ragland other than being card carrying socialist?
    Does she know there are over 50K of pipeline already that operates safely on a regular basis?

  • Tim C

    Another group of kooks stopping anything of economic value from being done.

    • CB44

      These are the same people who hate coal and loved natural gas until they heard you had to drill for it and build pipelines to transport it. Do not be fooled…they are against ALL fossil fuels and think the world can be run on windmills and solar panels.

      BTW, which laws does this pipeline violate? Specifics, please.

    • Wirerowe

      A kook getting her 15 minutes of fame. Activism gives non performers of mediocrity the platform for power and recognition. Drum rolls please ," show me the science". Good grief. Lady you would not know the difference between science and a voodoo doll.