Invite the Governor to Nelson County!
As a resident, property owner, or visitor of Virginia, I want your support to protect the property, economy, and environment of the region from the destructive and unnecessary effects of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. I fully understand that the ultimate decisions regarding the ACP, including the route and whether it will be built at all, will be made at the federal level. However, as the Governor of our Commonwealth, your voice matters.
You stated at the end of April, “Let’s pick the best route that doesn’t affect the homeowners. I want a route that doesn’t affect our pristine environmental areas.” Yet, to date, I am not aware of any statements you have made, nor actions you have taken to encourage Dominion to respect the property rights of the many Nelson County landowners who have no interest in hosting a 42-inch, high-pressure pipeline in perpetuity. If Dominion had a sincere interest in minimizing the use of eminent domain, why not re-route around blocks of objecting homeowners? Further, what specific steps have you taken to protect the pristine, sensitive, and valuable terrain proposed to be crossed by the ACP? Much of the proposed route in Nelson crosses steep slopes covered with shallow, fragile soils—a recipe for erosion and sedimentation pollution of waterways, not to mention the all-too-remembered landslides. Incredibly, far from helping us negotiate with Dominion for a reroute onto existing utility corridors, to date you have refused to even ensure public access to erosion, sediment and storm water control construction plans! I would like to hear what you have done to help protect the homeowners and environment of Nelson from the ACP’s destruction.
Virginia is a large Commonwealth and you have many responsibilities. Perhaps if you visited Nelson County, and met with residents, business owners, local representatives, and landowners on the route, you would understand and be inspired to help orchestrate a route that isn’t as destructive.
Your words and actions leave us no choice but to conclude that you have minimal knowledge of Nelson County. For example, you have declared that our economy “needs the ACP’s help”—to the disbelief of all who are currently enjoying our burgeoning economy. Nelson’s economy is growing faster than national averages, and at twice the average for rural Virginia. This lack of awareness on your part is especially disturbing, as we need you to accurately appreciate what we have here so you can understand why the ACP is such a devastating prospect.
Please consider planning a visit to Nelson County soon. I would really appreciate your taking the time to travel along the proposed route to meet and speak with your constituents on the frontline of the proposed demolition. Friends of Nelson would be honored to help your staff set up an itinerary that would give you first hand knowledge of the relevant issues we face, and how you could assist us. Your visit should introduce you to landowners along the route, include a public forum with a question and answer session, and meetings with local officials and business leaders.
Thank you for taking this request seriously. Please know that I will vote—for you or against you—based on your efforts to represent us (your constituents!), rather than on the outcome of this fight.