Pipeline battle heats up in Floyd

Mara Robbins speaking before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Mara Robbins speaking before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The proposed natural gas pipeline through Floyd County got a double hit Thursday morning with page one stories in The Floyd Press and The Roanoke Times.

Both articles highlight the efforts of Mara Robbins and others in opposing the 42-inch gas transmission line that would run from West Virginia to Chatham in Pittsylvania County and through Giles, Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd and Franklin counties.

The eight speakers before The Floyd County Board of Supervisors joined many more last month before the board and at a public meeting at The Floyd Country store in expressing overwhelming opposition to the 42-inch line that critics say would damage the environment, destroy the view shed, threaten the county’s fragile water supply and pose dangers to the area and residents through explosions, leaks and other hazards.

Although third party surveyors are already contacting property owners along the proposed route, the two companies involved — EQT Corporation and NextEra Energy Inc. — have not contacted county officials about the pipeline.

“The chances of them contacting you? Ah, I don’t think that is gonna happen,” says Robbins.  History has not proven that to be the case.  They will to avoid that for as long as possible.”

Both companies know the history of an earlier failed pipeline and know that their best option is to avoid involvement of the local government while pursuing other means — including eminent domain — to force the pipeline through the county.

I attempted to contact NextEra Energy Partner in Juno Beach, Florida, and EQT in Pittsburgh earlier this week.  Phone calls went to voice mails that were not returned and emails were not answered.

Robbins and her group have put together another public meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Eco-Center in Floyd.

Supervisor Lauren Yoder points out one of the proposed routes
Supervisor Lauren Yoder points out one of the proposed routes

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