JACKSON’S MILL, W. Va. — With multiple projects to construct natural gas pipelines through West Virginia in the planning and evaluation stages, several groups opposed to their construction played host to an informational meeting Saturday in Lewis County.

Residents of the county reached out to the Greenbrier River Watershed Association and the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, seeking information, since two of the major projects are proposed to run through their land.

On Saturday at Jackson’s Mill, the groups discussed the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Rover Pipeline –all of which are in the pre-application period with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in charge off their approval– as well as the Appalachian Connector, which is still in the conceptual stages.

Elise Keaton, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Greenbrier River Watershed Association admits that pipelines are not a new concept with 210 natural gas pipeline systems serving different purposes over 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines –3,758 miles of which ran through West Virginia— according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2008.

However, she said with natural gas on the rise the past few years, landowners find they do not fully understand the new look of the industry.

“Gas production has changed significantly. Instead of derricks on land, we now have hydrofracking and that changes the equation in terms of the landowners’ interaction with the company. There is a familiarity with the industry, but not with the practices and techniques.”

Joe Lovett, a lawyer with the non-profit group Appalachain Mountain Advocates gave a presentation on landowners’ rights and answered questions on topics such as when a company can and cannot come on one’s property for the purpose of surveying the land, how a company utilizes imminent domain and, for those who do wish to give the company the right to put a pipeline on their property, how to negotiate so they get the best deal overall.

“They do have a lot of negotiation ability,” Keaton said. “Within the easements, there are dozens of points of negotiation that very few people think of. For example, saving topsoil, what type of plants will be used to repopulate that piece of land. Empowering landowners to be prepared for this industry is really important.”

Lovett encouraged those in attendance, as well as those who could not make it, with more questions to contact their organization by phone or online.

The hundreds gathered Saturday also heard of the potential environmental impact the pipelines have on watersheds from Dr. Pamela C. Dodds, a registered professional independent geologist who has worked on similar issues as an expert witness for the Public Service Commission, with the state Environment Quality Board and other organizations since 2005.

Her main concern with the proposed pipelines is with their impact on surface runoff as most are positioned along mountain ridges, which begin headwaters for streams and also are the main contributor to soaking up groundwater once precipitation falls. The projects require some removal of trees and could potentially create steeper slopes in some areas.

“It’s going to impact our groundwater because it’s going to decrease the recharge of our groundwater and it’s going to cause increased quantity in water downstream, which will cause flooding and will cause streambank erosion.” Dobbs said.

The factors and others created by the pipelines, she explained can lead to a contamination of water quality.

“This is the mechanism why the sediment’s exceeding the [total maximum daily levels],” she said. “It’s that there’s so much water going downstream and making sediment go into the stream due to stream bank erosion, not that it’s not being controlled at the source, but with that increase that is not being controlled, it’s going to continue to cause more sediment.”

She recommends those impacted look at the Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Stormwater Management plan implemented in 2010 by the local Board of Commissioners there as a blueprint for regulating watershed quality in the future.

Keaton stressed the importance of gathering knowledge on these and other pipeline projects from as many sources as possible and join in the conversation leading up to the FERC’s decision on whether or not they are approved.

“We’re a long way from a certificate for construction and so landowners who want to oppose this need to contact us and find out where those networks are,” she said. “It’s not a done deal and they’re not alone if they’re in opposition. If they want the pipeline on their property, do the absolute best thing for themselves and be informed on all levels.”

The organization is planning a similar meeting in Craigsville on January 29 and is in talks to play host to events in Buckhannon and Harrison County.

For a pro-pipeline perspective, Dominion is putting on its own informational meetings for the ACP with open houses January 21 at the Elkins Gandy Conference Center from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and January 22 at Jackson’s Mill at the same time. For the Supply Header project, a January 26 open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Doddridge County Park.

EQT will be putting on an open house meeting, providing information on the Mountain Valley project, January 27 at the Progressive Women’s Association building from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Clarksburg.

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  • kiss my ass I'm Irish

    Are they the MORANS from Dublin? What a maroon!

  • mook

    All you friggin MORANS,at these meetings to stop the pipeline. YOU dum--as-- don't think nothin about jumpin you your figgin cars and going to these meetings. How about parking those pollutting piles of metal and start taking the horse and buggy to these meetings? Oh ya that would be nice> No heat no windsheild wipers takes to long.While you are at it,don't forget to chop some wood for the fireplace and carry some buckets of water in so we can heat it and take a bath. Oh ya, did you dig a new hole for the outhouse.

  • Uncle Cecil

    Just as I predicted. Liberal enviros, once they've killed off the coal industry, move on to fight the evil natural gas industry. Wasn't it just a few short years ago these people were championing natural gas over coal due to its cleaner emissions? Must have been before they found out you have to drill for it and dig trenches to transport it.

    Walk the walk and shut off your power and heat, you hypocrites.

  • wirerowe

    The pipeline should be viewed in and of itself for the positive and negative impact on the areas that it is going through. The citizens have every right and obligation to do that. But beware of anyone who tries to tie it to fracking. There is no connection, Specifically beware of Joe Lovett has made a mint off of putting coal miners out of work and destroying lives . Now he is out marketing his legal services under the front of a better West Virginia to put the fracking business and all who benefit from it out of business. He is a blood sucking capitalist who lives off of ruining the lives of working people. The natural gas is going to be developed and it will be sold where the markers are here or out of state with or without the pipeline. There is no connection.

    • jim

      To wire, what planet are you living on? The pipelines have no connection to Fracking? Joe Lovett is a blood-sucking capitalist? Your comments are just weird.

      • wirerowe

        If i may let me clarify my point about the realtionship between fracking and the pipeline. I would imagine that most of and likely all of the gas that would be transported through the pipeline would be fracked gas. within the constraints of pricing fracking will continue at a farily rapid pace across America and increasingly across the world and these pipelines will not impact on that fracking. To the residents where the pipeline passed through they should be concerned IMHO with the pipeline and its impact on their area. that is of paramount importance to their area. The fact that the gas is fracked gas or hortizontal drilled gas is not relevant to those concerns. Again in my opinion they should be very concerned about folks coming around with an anti fracking agenda and mixing it with concerns about the pipeline. I stand by my contention that these anti fracking advocates would be using the local folks for their own agenda. I think they should be very be ware of anyone linking these two separate agendas.

  • Commenter

    I am as pro capitalist as you can be, and am not anti anything. With that being said, it does sound like yet another instance where the states resources will be shipped off to other areas, with little to no benefit to the residents of WV. Aside from a few construction jobs to build these lines, the gas all goes to other states and WV loses again.

    • GeoLogic

      Are you going to buy it and market it?

    • Mason County Contrarian

      "West Virginia: Give Us the Business".

      Take that any way you'd like.

      Just an opinion.

  • thornton

    Hopefully, the few solid concerns these narrow-focused younkers toot and chirp will receive appropriate attention.
    Concerns do exist.

    To the plus side, there was no doubt some swell recipes for tofu discussed at any intermission of the agenda ranting and foot-stomping.

    • jim

      I have some grouse recipes I will not share with you.

      • thornton

        No problem..most, not all, understand that the simpler the ruffed grouse is treated during the cooking process, the better.
        50 ruffed grouse seasons have allowed me to refine even...simple.

        For tofu as an ingredient, I bow to the preferences of those who find angst and worry and high fives behind every step of progress.
        Perhaps, it is also because of the uncanny resemblance they and many of their thoughts bear to bean curd.

  • 95bulldog

    While they are at it, why don't they see if Matt Damon can come and enlighten us all about how bad the gas industry is. Afterall he played a guy that fought the gas company in a movie once. That makes him an expert right?

  • David

    Socialists funded by socialists .....

    Hey metronews why don't you look into who is funding these groups ...

    • jim

      Landowners funding themselves off the land they own.

    • davids best eggs

      When its not in your backyard, it's easy to close your eyes and spew out "blames the socialists." This State and its landowners have been raped repeatedly in its history with very little return. Eggheads like David are the problem.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Your honesty is to be appreciated.

        Unfortunately, you will endure considerable ire in that honesty for you have found one of those Nerves of Truth.

        Hang in there.