Press Statement on Governor McAuliffe’s Announcement on Natural Gas Pipeline
Charlottesville, VA – The following is a statement from Greg Buppert, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center:
We are disappointed that the Governor pledged his support today for a major gas pipeline through Virginia’s forests, particularly in light of the potential impacts on the beloved George Washington National Forest, also known as the GW. Dominion’s proposed pipeline would traverse the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains through three counties (Highland, Augusta, and Nelson), as well as the Shenandoah Valley. It crosses prime recreational and biological areas in the national forest, including much of the best remaining wild landscape in Virginia. It is also proposed through one of Virginia’s most rugged landscapes, crossing numerous ridgelines over 3000 feet and raising serious questions about whether it can be built without significant damage to pristine forests and rivers.
Given these potential impacts, the project has generated a chorus of citizen opposition throughout the state. Dominion has not publicly identified a customer in Highland, Nelson, and Augusta counties for the gas carried by the pipeline, and the project threatens the integrity of the region’s public lands and communities with few, if any, apparent long-term economic benefits.
In the past, Governor McAuliffe has voiced strong support for protecting the GW from other industrial development in the form of shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In light of the expected damaging impacts of the proposed pipeline, we urge the Governor to keep his pledge to the citizens of the Commonwealth to protect the GW, a treasured natural resource that hosts more than a million visitors annually and anchors a vital, agriculture and tourism-based economy for the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding communities.
Letter from Governor McAuliffe to Secretary Vilsack opposing fracking in the GW: http://www.svnva.org/wp-content/uploads/Gov-McAuliffe-Jan-6-2014-GWNF-fracking-2.pdf
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org