CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — The companies promoting the construction of a proposed natural gas pipeline held one of its last open house for its current project status Tuesday night in Harrison County.
Natalie Cox, EQT Corporate Director of Communications and Spokesperson for Mountain Valley Pipeline, along with the experts in attendance at the meeting claim public interaction over the past 12 events has had an impact on their decision making.
“Definitely we take people’s thoughts, concerns and questions into consideration when we come up with alternative routes,” she said. “I think it’s important that people take the time to come to these meetings and learn and ask their questions.”
The Mountain Valley Pipeline –which is in the pre-filing stage with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission— would run 300 miles from Wetzel County to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, would be up to 42 inches in diameter meriting 75 feet of permanent easement and is estimated to provide at least two billion cubic feet per day of firm transmission capacity.
If approved by FERC, the pipeline would be operational sometime in 2018.
As promoted, through the joint venture between EQT Corporation and NextEra Energy, Inc., natural gas could be transported on a scale not possible presently.
“The current pipeline infrastructure that exists just isn’t enough to be able to satisfy the supply that we’re now producing and then the demand,” Cox said. “One of the primary reasons for Mountain Valley Pipeline project is to take that prolific supply from the Marcellus and Utica down to the southeast region of the U.S.”
She said demand is growing in that area due to the fact that as more individuals retire, they relocate to the region.
As with similar open house meetings for other proposed pipeline projects, experts on pipeline construction, engineering and safety were available to take question from the public. They promoted the estimated economic impact which they claim would come with the pipeline’s construction and what having the pipeline could mean for natural gas production jobs with a quicker way to supply the demand.
Also similar to other open house meetings was the presence of organizations opposed to this and all pipeline projects such as the Greenbrier River Watershed Association and the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance. They handed out information to those in attendance related to their concerns regarding landowner rights, reduced property values and environmental impacts.
Both proponents of the pipeline and opponents continued the debate which has been going on since an increased number of pipeline projects in the area began to be proposed.
“It’s not a matter of them getting to come to our side, it’s a matter of educating them and allowing them to understand the facts,” Cox said. “Maybe they have some misunderstanding, so that’s the best we can do. We certainly appreciate their concerns.”
She hoped the public would take note of the numerous pipelines of various length, sizes and purposes –-more than 210 natural gas pipeline systems running 305,000 miles in 2008– and believe industry and safety can co-exist.
The 14th and final open house meeting for the pre-filing on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project will be held Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Jacksonburg Fire Department in Wetzel County.